There is an interesting case out of San Francisco where one of the oldest churches is suing Zoom Video Communications, Inc. after bible classes were interrupted by pranksters “zoombombing” with pornographic images. Saint Paulus Lutheran Church filed a complaint in federal court to lay the foundation for a class action.
The elderly participated were shocked to suddenly have an array of pornographic images described in the complaint: “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.”
While the church said that “Zoom did nothing,” the company responded to the contrary:
“We were deeply upset to hear about this incident, and our hearts go out to those impacted by this horrific event. Words cannot express how strongly we condemn such behavior. 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 relevant authorities.”
The lawsuit alleges privacy violations and seeks injunctive relief to prevent Zoom from engaging in negligent business practices.
The question is whether the users should be deemed aware of such a vulnerability when using an open conferencing product. Zoom is suggesting that it can trace pranksters after-the-fact but that such conferencing has inherent vulnerabilities. It has also increased security and created educational posts on how to prevent uninvited participants. Yet, users insist that the company has a flawed product that has exposed users to the loss of privacy and disruptions in their meetings.
This could make for a fascinating case if the church can show that there were always programs or fixes that could have prevented such intrusions. The class action may help on damages. It is not clear what the damages for a pornographic Bible class would be in terms of emotional distress, negligence, and grossly impure thoughts.