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Could I Face Disciplinary Action or Criminal Charges for Zoom Bombing?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

In-person meetings and classes have become all but impossible in the days of the coronavirus. This has greatly diminished the ability of colleges, universities, and high schools to go about their regular business. Thankfully, many free group video apps have allowed virtual meetings to replace these in-person groups.

One of the platforms that has become the most popular option for video conferencing and virtual meetings is known as Zoom. Zoom Video Communications was first founded in 2011 but has only recently become widely used in the United States. While convenient, many users inexperienced with taking advantage of the platform's security options fall victim the phenomenon known as “Zoom bombing.”

What is Zoom Bombing?

Zoom Bombing is a form of disruption that occurs on the teleconferencing app. It involves uninvited users crashing a zoom meeting or teleconference and disrupting it in a variety of ways. In some cases, this disruption could involve racist or threatening language. In other cases, the Zoom bomber will broadcast pornography or other offensive images.

Zoom has security features that can limit access to a call or prevent an uninvited guest from broadcasting images. Unfortunately, not all users of the platform understand these features. The end result is often publically accessible virtual meetings that allow bombers to hijack the stream for their own purposes.

Criminal Consequences

Unsurprisingly, law enforcement views these acts as more than light-hearted pranks. In fact, there have already been arrests for Zoom bombing across the country. In Connecticut, the police arrested a juvenile on breach of the peace and cybercrime charges after identifying him as the Zoom bomber that targeted a local school.

The teenager was identified as the perpetrator of several disruptions of Hand High School's online learning efforts. According to police, he accessed a number of online classes while broadcasting “obscene language and gestures.”

Another incident involving racist and pornographic images has also lead to a criminal investigation. At the University of Florida, a student government meeting was shut down after an unauthorized user broadcast racist imagery and pornography. Campus police later identified the perpetrator as a 13-year-old girl from Memphis with no ties to the school.

Potential School Discipline for Zoom Bombing

It should also be noted that Zoom bombing also carries the risk of academic discipline. Academic settings, including online college classes, have become one of the prime targets of Zoom bombing. It should come as no surprise then that many schools have promised swift disciplinary action if they determine their students have been involved. University of Texas President Greg Fenves has promised as much after announcing a formal investigation into Zoom bombing during meetings of UT students, staff, and faculty.

If you are facing accusations of Zoom bombing, you could face an array of consequences. In addition to criminal charges, your academic future could also be at risk. If you find yourself in this situation, it is vital that you discuss your options with a student discipline defense attorney right away. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento for help at 888-535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he has sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address school-related issues and concerns anywhere in the United States.

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