This Church Held a Meeting Via Zoom. Now They’re Suing the Company Over Porn. May 15, 2020

This Church Held a Meeting Via Zoom. Now They’re Suing the Company Over Porn.

[NOTE: One bit of additional information has come to light that changes the nature of this story. See the postscript.]

Christian values like forgiveness and turning the other cheek aren’t readily apparent here:

A church in California has filed a class action complaint against Zoom Video Communications for failing to protect their Bible study from being “zoom-bombed” with pornography.

A “known offender” hijacked the video conference by disabling other accounts and then posted disturbing pornographic videos during a May 6 Bible study. …

Heddi Cundle, a church administrator, and Saint Paulus Lutheran Church argue in the complaint that Zoom failed to secure the conference and gave their personal information to third parties.

That last part looks like a nonsensical allegation; I hope the plaintiffs are prepared to prove it in court. It’s more likely that online vandals or hackers gained illicit entry to the churches’ Zoom conference (perhaps through their own social media postings), than that Zoom sold the malefactors access to it.

It’s true that Zoom has been trying to walk a fine line between making video-conferencing a cinch, and providing adequate protection against Zoom-bombing and various privacy incursions. Look, I’d be upset too if I was having an online get-together and someone cast pornography onto our screens. But my dismay would be tempered by the fact that Zoom is free except for some premium features; that the company’s user base expanded thirty-fold in the last four or five months, causing growing pains; and that the top brass took serious steps a month ago to curb the digital vandalism, an effort that’s continuing.

Personally, I’d try to get my satisfaction from a nice apology, and maybe switch to Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or another video-conferencing service. A lawsuit doesn’t quite seem like the right course of action here, especially for a plaintiff purporting to believe in “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44), “Pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:28), “Don’t punish anyone who does wrong to you” (Romans 12:14), and so on.

But no one said that churches don’t excel at being chronically persecuted affronted.

For instance,

The importance of the sanctity of Saint Paulus [the church] cannot be overstated,”

… whinges the church in its lawsuit — as if religious groups, on account of their supposed sacredness, are entitled to a higher degree of protection against online louts than us common folk.

Speaking of protection, where was God? Should Ms. Cundle and her posse have prayed harder to not just be covered in Jesus’s blood, but also by the Almighty’s awesome Shield of Faith?

I may have a peaceful solution, no courts necessary. Whoever did this, let’s ask them to Zoom-bomb an online meeting of Pornhub employees with footage of a church service, and call it good.

Too cruel?

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P.S., added Saturday morning. I just learned that the Zoom-bombed porn that meeting participants saw on their screens involved a child. That’s genuinely awful, and changes the equation considerably. The two articles on which I based my post didn’t contain that vital information. I regret not having provided a better, fuller picture.

(Image via Shutterstock)


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