Billie K. Fidlin, Director of Justice & Outreach

Billie K. Fidlin, Director of Justice & Outreach

Only minutes ago a ZOOM meeting regarding COVID 19 and the situation in prisons concluded. The speaker, Jenny Carroll, from Alabama, is a well-versed authority in prison reform and had recently published a paper on the current situation. What a meeting!

Not because Ms. Carroll was amazing – she was. Not because ASU was the host which generally means it will be a quality, worthwhile meeting. It was.

“What a meeting!” because this was my first experience being in a ZOOM meeting and it being hacked. Unbelievable. There were (I suppose) the expected porn graphics, vile graphics, and verbal abuse. BUT this was done by a TEAM of hackers. It was not just one individual but multiple people. So when the zoom host would remove someone from the meeting another hacker, or hackers, would start in. Screaming, laughing, playing loud music, inserting graphics, etc. Terrible. And sadly, the remedies that ASU staff were trying, were not working. So that meeting was shut down and in the chat room, the new zoom link was given. Which of course the hackers saw as well.

In the new zoom meeting location, ASU had put in various precautions. But in the chat room, which was not disabled, someone would write “I have a question about hospital care” or something topically related. On one of those, I checked the name and his photo (as opposed to a profile icon) appeared and the photo was fowl, so I chatted that and stated to not allow. A couple of us wrote to the person to type his question in – he said it was too long. Apparently not – the hacker started a rant on the chat. The zoom host then noted all questions had to now come via being typed in the chat room – so other hackers then started in with more rants.

Quite the experience. With that said, I strongly, strongly recommend you read Director of Communications Christina Dillabough’s article Is ZOOM Safe? (https://dscumc.org/blog/2020/04/07/is-zoom-safe). The article will tell you how to deal with this. We at the Conference know we are giving you a ton of information and the learning curve is high, but you do not want this to happen to you. It was terrible!

What a meeting!

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