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.
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.