Zoom sued by pole dancing instructor after classes hacked by 'uninvited men'

Lawsuit claims woman lost business after men were intimidating, harassing clients

A Texas-based burlesque and pole dancing instructor has sued Zoom Video Communications Inc claiming “uninvited men” joined her live-video classes, causing her to have to cancel some sessions and even lose clients, court papers show.

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Stacey Simins owns and runs a dance studio in Austin and began using Zoom to teach classes in March 2020, in response to the state’s shelter-in-place order prompted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the lawsuit states.

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She purchased a “Pro account,” and “expected Zoom to be private and secure,” but soon learned her privacy settings could be breached.

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“After Ms. Simins began using Zoom, uninvited men joined some of her classes on Zoom. The attackers were intimidating and harassing to Ms. Simins’s clients,” the suit states. “On at least one occasion, Ms. Simins had to cancel a session as a result… [and] several of Ms. Simins’s students have refused to join more classes because of their fear over future incidents.”

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She filed her lawsuit on Monday in California federal court and is seeking class-action status. A Zoom spokesperson referred FOX Business to CEO Eric Yuan's Message to Users​, which was posted on April 1 and includes details about the company's 90-day plan to address such issues.

"Zoom offers a number of built-in protections to help hosts protect their meetings," the spokesperson said in a statement, "and we have recently made a series of updates to help hosts more easily access these features and avoid uninvited guests."

Simins criticized Zoom for promising a level of encryption that she said it was unable to provide. Her complaint points to “security failings” that have allowed “bad actors” to hack into thousands of live video conference and recorded meetings that were stored on its server and access web cameras.

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“Zoom has long marketed the service as being protected with end-to-end, 256-bit encryption,” the suit states. “But in reality, Zoom has failed to deliver private and secure video conferencing: The level of encryption Zoom provides is far less robust than what it promised.”

The lawsuit also notes how Zoom was previously in hot water for allegedly sharing its user information with Facebook, which the company has publicly addressed.

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A previous lawsuit claimed through Zoom’s iOS Login Feature – which would appear to a user as an option for “Login with Facebook” – Facebook could allegedly collect Zoom users’ information, even if the person did not use the login feature and did not even have a Facebook account, the lawsuit states.

Zoom has since discontinued the "Login with Facebook," a move that was announced in a company blog post, and discontinued the LinkedIn Sales Navigator feature, per an April 1 announcement.

A rep for Facebook spokesperson previously denounced the claim.

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