The world is adjusting to the “new normal” of working from home and attending online meetings. While this is happening, a nefarious group of people have decided to enter Zoom teleconferences so they can be abusive to the people who are attending it. The Department of Justice wants people to know that “Zoom-bombing” can result in fines or imprisonment.
The Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Michigan posted a release titled: “Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Warn Against Teleconferencing Hacking During Coronavirus Pandemic”.
The release points out that the FBI reported this week that there has been a rise in “Zoom-bombing”, or video hacking, across the United States. Hackers are disrupting conferences and online classrooms with pornographic and/or hate images and threatening language.
Michigan’s chief federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are joining together to warn anyone who hacks into a teleconference can be charged with state or federal crimes. Charges may include – to name just a few – disrupting a public meeting, computer intrusion, using a computer to commit a crime, hate crimes, fraud, or transmitting threatening communications. All of these charges are punishable by fines and imprisonment.
The Verge reported that the press release on the Department of Justice’s website under the US Attorney’s office for the state’s Eastern District is posted with support form the state attorney general and the FBI.
The press release includes a quote from Matthew Schneider, United States Attorney General for Eastern Michigan, “You think Zoom bombing is funny? Let’s see how funny it is after you get arrested. If you interfere with a teleconference or public meeting in Michigan, you could have federal, state, or local law enforcement knocking at your door.”
I understand that some people are getting bored while under “shelter at home” orders. That doesn’t give them the right to go online and harass people. I wonder when we will hear news about the first arrest of a “Zoom-bomber”?
The United States Department of Justice announced that the Department’s Antitrust Division is reviewing whether and how market-leading platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.
The Department’s review will consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online. The Department’s Antitrust Division is conferring with and seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms, as well as others.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the inquiry by the Justice Department add “a new Washington threat for companies such as Facebook Inc., Google, Amazon.com Inc., and Apple Inc.”
CNBC reported: “The move is the strongest by Attorney General William Barr towards Big Tech, which faces increased scrutiny from both political parties because of the expanded market power the companies have and the tremendous amount of consumer data they control”.
CNBC also reported that shares of Facebook, Alphabet, and Amazon all fell more than 1% immediately after the announcement and that Apple’s stock also dropped.
This follows the European Commission’s antitrust investigation to assess whether Amazon’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on Amazon’s marketplace is in breach of EU competition rules.
There have been several investigations, by other countries, regarding questionable practices made by the big technology companies.
It seems to me that the more investigations that happen, the less likely it is that all of these big tech companies will come away from this without facing penalties, fines, or requirements that they make changes.
U.S. Homeland Security Shuts Down BitTorrent P2P Site
Ten people suspected of involvement with the EliteTorrents webserver were served warrants by homeland security agents. According to the U.S. government agency, this is the first criminal enforcement action taken against violators of copyright law who use the BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) file swapping software. The operation, codenamed D-elite, targeted administrators and content providers working through the EliteTorrents website.
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