Via Interesting People, here’s a story about a Canadian student who won the right not to have his essay submitted to a plagiarism detection site called TurnItIn.com. The site compares a new essay to a huge data bank of old essays. McGill sophomore Jesse Rosenfeld refused to hand in essays through the site.
“I was having to prove I didn’t plagiarize even before my paper was looked at by my professor,” Rosenfeld said, according to the Globe and Mail.
Students’ essays are saved as “digital fingerprints.” They’re never read by a human. Critics think Canadian universities would hire more instructors to read and analyze papers if profs didn’t rely on TurnItIn to spot plagiarism.
I have a hard time believing students have privacy rights to papers they write for classes. And I can’t see a copyright violation here either.