Anti-SLAPP application against Proctorio to be heard April 29-30
March 2 2021
My name is Ian Linkletter. My pronouns are he/him. I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Since 2011, I’ve worked as staff in the Faculty of Education at The University of British Columbia (UBC). My position title is Learning Technology Specialist.
Six months ago, on September 2nd, 2020, I was sued by an academic surveillance software company called Proctorio Incorporated. Proctorio watches and records students as they take exams online. It uses secret algorithms to track so-called “abnormalities” and then reports the “suspicion level” for every student to their professor. I am deeply concerned for the millions of students who have been forced to use Proctorio (and other forms of “e-proctoring” surveillance) during the pandemic.
Proctorio sued me because I expressed my concerns on Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/Linkletter) about how the technology works, linking to 7 of their YouTube videos to prove my points. They removed the videos within hours, and I tweeted a screenshot showing how they had removed them. For these 8 tweets they sued me, claiming copyright infringement for the YouTube links and breach of confidence for the screenshot. They also obtained an injunction restricting how I can talk about their academic surveillance software.
On April 29th and 30th, 2021, the B.C. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear my application to dismiss Proctorio’s lawsuit against me. We will be arguing that this lawsuit is a SLAPP, or “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation”. These lawsuits are a threat to public participation, which is why many provinces and states have passed anti-SLAPP legislation to protect freedom of expression.
This lawsuit is meritless and was filed for the sole purpose of silencing me. This is wrong. Proctorio says I have caused the company irreparable harm. I believe I am preventing harm to students. Sharing information about how Proctorio works informs the public interest. We have to know this information to be able to discuss the ethics, efficacy, and harms of academic surveillance.
You can read the Notice of Application and all the defense filings at defense.linkletter.org. This application is being brought under the Protection of Public Participation Act (PPPA), B.C.’s anti-SLAPP legislation. If we fully succeed, Proctorio’s injunction against me will be dissolved, the lawsuit will be dismissed, and Proctorio will be ordered to pay full legal indemnity costs.
I have spent over $50,000 of my savings funding my legal defense, and through a GoFundMe campaign have raised over $50,000 more.
On December 1st, the “Teach-In Against Surveillance” raised $7,235, and a recording of the event can be viewed at https://againstsurveillance.net. The lessons continue on Twitter: #AgainstSurveillance
The April 29-30 hearing is an important test of the PPPA. If I am made whole the GoFundMe will pay forward. All remaining proceeds will be donated to the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA).
Joe Arvay, Q.C., was my lawyer, and I was shocked by his tragic passing on December 7th, 2020. His life’s work was in service of the protection of human rights and freedoms, and though his work he helped change the life of every Canadian. His counsel guided me through one of my life’s greatest challenges. Thank you, Joe.
I continue to be represented by Arvay Finlay, LLP. Catherine Boies Parker, Q.C., and Mark Underhill have joined John Trueman on my legal team. They have my complete confidence. We will finish what Joe started.
I can be contacted by members of the press via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, because of the injunction obtained against me by Proctorio, I may not be able to comment fully. All my legal filings are available at https://defense.linkletter.org and provide a fulsome account of my defense.