Church sues Zoom after porn clips appear during Bible study




A California church is suing video chat company Zoom after a hacker allegedly hijacked a virtual Bible study class to post graphic images of child abuse.

The hacker allegedly took over users’ computers and played “sick and disturbing videos”, according to the lawsuit filed by Saint Paulus Lutheran Church.


The San Francisco church’s leaders contacted Zoom for help, but the company “did nothing”, the suit says.

In a statement, a Zoom spokesperson condemned the “horrific event.”

“Our hearts go out to those impacted. On the same day we learned of this incident, we identified the offender, took action to block their access to the platform and reported them to the relevant authorities,” the company said.


The firm pointed to its “recently updated security features”, adding that Zoom users should not widely share meeting access and passwords “as appeared to be the case” with the church group.

“The footages were sick and sickening — portraying adults engaging in sex acts with each other and performing sex acts on infants and children, in addition to physically abusing them,” according to the complaint filed Wednesday in federal court.

The popularity of the Zoom video chat app has soared in recent months for work and leisure meetings as virus lockdown measures have kept millions at home.


The inflated use has come with heightened scrutiny over its security and privacy measures, with reports of so-called “Zoombombing” – where uninvited guests hack into meetings, sometimes posting racist, abusive or explicit content.

The church said, in the suit, that the bible study class was hacked by a “known offender – one who has been reported to the authorities multiple times.”

The eight Bible study students, mostly senior citizens, had their computers’ control systems disabled while the hacker played the offensive pornographic videos.


With Zoom usage soaring amid lockdowns, the multi-participant video streaming tool last month released a new, large scale update that they said would address its various security and privacy concerns, which have come into sharper focus recently.

Zoom has faced sharp criticism after it emerged some meeting data could have been routed through servers in China, so the ability for users to control which data centres their data is routed through has now also been added.

The video app was also criticised earlier this month after it emerged the platform was not using end-to-end encryption for all meetings, despite suggesting it on its website.



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