TEQSA disrupts access to another 110 illegal academic cheating websites
TEQSA has taken action to disrupt access to a further 110 commercial academic cheating service websites.
This is the second time TEQSA has used protocols with Australia’s major ISPs to block websites providing or promoting academic cheating services in breach of Australian law, after 40 sites were blocked in August.
TEQSA Chief Commissioner Professor Peter Coaldrake AO said the enforcement action had been timed to disrupt cheating behaviours during the October assessment period.
“Our analysis of web traffic patterns shows October is one of the peak months for traffic to cheating websites,” Professor Coaldrake said.
“Disrupting access will help protect higher education students from illegal sites that are known to engage in blackmail.”
“Cheating is never the right answer, and this action underlines that websites offering to write assignments or answer exam questions are illegal in Australia.”
Among the sites targeted for action were 5 operating in languages other English. TEQSA also found evidence that the blocked sites were targeting students across multiple disciplines at institutions in every state and territory.
TEQSA chief executive Alistair Maclean said the national regulator was methodically working through its priority list of 580 suspected cheating sites that are targeting students at Australian higher education institutions.
“Through our work with the sector, reports from the public and our own intelligence gathering, we’ve identified about 2330 suspected academic cheating sites. Of particular interest to us are 580 of these sites that are targeting students at Australian institutions,” Mr Maclean said.
“With this action, we’ve now disrupted access to 152 websites since July 2021. We’ve also had 697 social media posts and accounts removed from networks such as Facebook, Instagram and GumTree.”
“TEQSA will continue to undertake further investigation and enforcement activity in the coming months.”
Suspected illegal cheating websites can be reported at teqsa.gov.au/cheating.
TEQSA’s website also has a range of resources for students to help them understand and uphold their academic integrity, including information in languages other than English.
It is illegal to provider or advertise commercial academic cheating services (also known as contract cheating) to students at Australian higher education institutions. Penalties include up to 2 years imprisonment and/or fines of up to $110,000 for people convicted of providing or advertising a cheating service. The laws also enable TEQSA to disrupt access to cheating websites.
Students caught using a commercial academic cheating service are subject to their institution’s disciplinary procedures.
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