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Virtual meeting of Indiana Election Commission interrupted by porn

election meeting hacked.JPG
Posted at 11:23 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 23:23:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A shock for around 200 people participating in a public Zoom meeting of the Indiana Election Commission on Friday. Someone managed to broadcast pornography onto participants' screens.

The security of Zoom and other virtual meeting technology has been under scrutiny since the novel coronavirus pandemic abruptly canceled in-person meetings and classes across the country.

"What we saw appeared to me as first a pornography clip," Rima Shahid said.

A graphic video and possibly more is not how Shahid expected Friday's Indiana Election Commission meeting to start.

"I think we were all kind of frozen in time," Shahid said. "Time stood still and we all tried to figure out what was going on."

Immediately people taking part in the video chat started tweeting. None of them could quite believe what they had seen. The pornographic video lasted no more than a minute, but of course, everyone was a little unsettled.

"It took just a couple minutes for them to get into the groove of the meeting but I do applaud them in their efforts and conducting it in a professional manner all things considered," Shahid said.

RTV6 reached out to the election commission to ask if the incident could have been prevented. The response? They can't restrict access because an election commission meeting, even when conducted virtually, is open to any member of the public.

For Shahid, this incident goes beyond being uncomfortable.

"I was thankful my children weren't in the room," Shahid said. "Usually I'm just sitting with them."

Shahid wants other organizations and schools to know they need to be sure they're safeguarding Zoom meetings.

"As a mother, my children's teacher uses Zoom and that's making me really question should I email the principal, the superintendent and let them know this has happened and waht precautions are they going to take," Shahid said.

Because of its popularity as a tool for teaching and meetings these days, Zoom has a webpage dedicated to safety tips and security measures, like the waiting room feature.

RTV6 reached out to the FBI in Indianapolis to see if someone could face criminal charges for pulling a stunt like this. At this time it's unclear, but they are looking into the matter.