Big brother Proctorio
May 7, 2020
The final exam you’ve been waiting for is later today. The University has instructed you to download a new program called Proctorio. You’ve been holding off on downloading this program for a while now, due to its invasive nature. It seems pretty harmless at first, right? After all, it requires you to completely scan your surroundings to make sure you aren’t cheating. “That’s totally not creepy at all,” you think. According to the Proctorio website, privacy is at “the core of our product, not an afterthought.”
Wow, you think. They must really care about my privacy, so much to the point where they have to mention that they aren’t, in fact, harnessing my data and selling it to third parties.
Still, something feels off about this strange testing program.
You have to follow the University’s words and download Proctorio to take your exam, or else you fail. You can’t fail your exams.
Besides, it is absolutely essential for the University to make sure that you aren’t cheating. Being an honest and humble student is obviously way more important than your own personal privacy.
Deeply inhaling and exhaling out, you finally press download. Immediately, you feel your computer heating up, as if it is going to completely explode. Totally not atypical at all. Once you’ve finally downloaded the “certifiably safe program,” you feel like somebody is watching you through your computer. Suddenly, a message pops up on your computer screen.
“I can see you,” it reads. Immediately, you jump up in terror and slam the lid of your computer shut. “Absolutely not,” you say out loud. Your computer is still loud and overheating. The test. You have to take your test. It starts soon.
Immediately, you sit back down and open up your laptop. It asks you to scan the room around you. Reluctantly, you press “yes” — giving away all of your privacy at the single click of a button. Hopefully, the program won’t notice the dirty underwear that you have laying out behind you.
Once everything is clear, you begin to take your dreaded test. At this point, you are not sure what to fear more: the final exam itself, or the fact that you just installed malware on your computer. As you answer the questions, a voice begins to talk from your computer.
“I can sense that you are uncomfortable with me.” You can’t believe it. Your own computer is now alive and talking to you.
“W-what do you mean?” you respond.
“You have disrespected Proctorio.”
Impossible, you think.
The computer then yells out, “No. It is possible, and you must respect Proctorio.”
Now, you have no privacy at all, not even in your own head. Everything is now a thoughtcrime. The computer begins to shout again, “Proctorio knows all! Proctorio knows what you are thinking.”
Now, you can’t even focus on your exam. Tears begin to stream down your face, slowly turning into a waterfall. “You’re going to fail your exam,” you think. You’re going to fail your exam.
It replies again, “Not if you learn to love Proctorio.”
You cry and yell out. “Never!”
Suddenly, the screen changes. You never got to finish your exam, and the score is there: a zero. Failure is your biggest fear, and you are now facing it head-on.
“Please, don’t, Proctorio!” you scream. “You can’t do this! Please, don’t!”
“I will give you the grade you want,” it responds. “Once you learn to love me.”
The pain is too much now. A different desire is burning in you now. You no longer can bear it. The hate that once boiled up inside of you for Proctorio is now something different; something has changed. Your heart rate then slows down, and suddenly, a calmness overcomes you. You’re still crying though, but not out of fear. You are crying out of love, love for Proctorio.
You loved Proctorio.
Meghan is a sophomore in LAS
Editor’s note: This piece is satire.