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Penn State Police, FBI Investigating ‘Zoom-bombings’ Involving Child Pornography

Penn State University Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating at least six incidents of “Zoom-bombing” that allegedly involved child pornography during Penn State remote meetings, the university announced Wednesday.

The alleged incidents reportedly occurred over the past few months after classes moved online and employees began working from home.

Both organizations are encouraging students and employees who’ve hosted Zoom meetings and witnessed criminal activity, including the display of child sexual abuse material, to report the incidents to Penn State Police. Additionally, you can report it to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or leave an anonymous tip.

“Penn State police and the FBI are committed to apprehending any individual who produces or distributes child sexual abuse material and is seeking the public’s assistance to identify the person or persons responsible for these egregious crimes,” the university said in a release.

Since mid-March, the FBI has received more than 240 incidents involving depictions of child sexual abuse material through Zoom.

“Penn State police and the FBI consider this activity to be a violent crime, as every time child sexual abuse material is viewed, the depicted child is re-victimized,” Penn State added. “Additionally, anyone who inadvertently sees child sexual abuse material depicted during a virtual event is potentially a victim.”

To help prevent future “Zoom-bombing,” review some important tips and safety measures:

  • If you are the administrator or host of a Zoom meeting in which child sexual abuse material was broadcast, contact Penn State police at your campus and the FBI; do not delete or destroy any of your computer logs without further direction.
  • If you recorded a Zoom meeting in which child sexual abuse material was broadcast, contact your Penn State campus police station and the FBI for assistance in removing the material from your device.
  • If you believe you are a victim of a child sexual abuse material broadcast during a Zoom event, as defined above, contact your Penn State campus police station and the FBI to learn about your victim rights and possible victim assistance.
  • If you know who is committing these recent crimes, contact the FBI.

“Zoom-bombing” refers to strangers gaining access to publicly available video conferences and disrupting it by screen-sharing sensitive material or yelling hateful language. In the past, Penn State has offered guidance to help limit these offenses from taking place.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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