The Saint Paulus Lutheran Church , a church in San Francisco , California, US, is suing popular video calling app, Zoom, after one among its bible study classes was allegedly hacked into by a hacker who displayed live pornography during the bible study class being held by the church.
The church, one among the oldest in San Francisco held a bible study class on May 6, but 42 minutes into the class, their computer screens were “hijacked” and “control buttons disabled” while pornographic video was streamed.
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to remain indoors, people now use Zoom to virtually attend school classes, work meetings or simply connect with friends.
But the FBI has warned that it received multiple reports of “Zoombombing,” during which calls were hijacked by individuals who share “pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.
According to a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday on behalf of the church and its church administrator, most of the Video call attendees were senior citizens of the church.
“The footages were sick and sickening — portraying adults engaging in sexual acts with one another and performing sexual acts on infants and youngsters , additionally to physically abusing them,” the lawsuit said, adding that Zoom admitted the hacker was a “known serial offender” who had been reported “multiple times to the authorities.”
In the suit, the church administrators accuse Zoom of “prioritizing profit and revenue over data protection and user security” and are seeking damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and violations of California state consumer protection and privacy statutes among other things.
“The Church filed this lawsuit only after Zoom refused to take its concerns seriously,” Mark Molumphy, one among the church’s lawyers, told CNN in an email statement.
“One would think that Zoom — having been informed of the Church’s horrific experience — would’ve done everything possible to acknowledge and fix the safety vulnerabilities of its platform,” Molumphy, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy One, said.
“Instead, the Church was basically ignored, and Zoom likely hoped that the Church would just get away .
However, it’s not leaving, and instead, courageously stepping up to try to change Zoom’s practices and confirm this does not happen again to anyone else.”
Zoom responding to the lawsuit and therefore the church’s claims said in an email statement to CNN. ;
“We were deeply upset to listen to about this incident, and our hearts leave to those impacted by this horrific event.
Words cannot express how strongly we condemn such behavior,” a spokesperson for “On the same day we learned of this incident, we identified the offender, took action to dam their access to the platform and reported them to the relevant authorities.
We encourage users to report any incidents of this type either to Zoom so we will take appropriate action or on to enforcement authorities.
We also encourage all meeting hosts to take advantage of Zoom’s recently updated security measures and follow other best practices, including ensuring to not broadly share meeting IDs and passwords online, as seemed to be the case here,” the spokesperson added.