New York City’s Department of Education has directed teachers to stop using the video conferencing software Zoom over rising concerns of hackings or “Zoombombings.” The memo, recently obtained by the New York Post, directed schools across the city that are closed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to use Google Hangouts Meet or Microsoft Teams instead of Zoom.
“We know how hard you and your staff are working to make remote learning a reality for students and families, and appreciate the ways in which you’re going above and beyond every day. We also know you share our concern for student safety,” DOE chief operating officer Ursulina Ramirez wrote in a letter to school principals, according the memo.
The letter continued, “If you are currently using Zoom for video conferencing, we are ready to support you in a transition as quickly as possible.”
Just reported to me that this evening UF’s Student Government meeting was Zoom Bombed with racist messages, swastikas, pornography and death threats. I condemn these horrific messages of hate. I have asked UF IT and UF PD to investigate. COVID-19 and hate will be defeated.
— W. Kent Fuchs (@PresidentFuchs) April 1, 2020
A range of groups using the software for educational or religious gatherings have reported individuals or groups hijacking their chat rooms to promote racist, antisemitic, pornographic images or rhetoric, dubbed “Zoombombings.”
Breaking news out of D.C. – the Dept. of Education forbids teachers to use the virtual meeting program #Zoom over continued "zoombombing" concerns.
Neo nazis continue to infiltrate meetings, dropping swastikas, yelling "Heil Hitler", and sharing porn. https://t.co/Rv52qfbeES
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) April 7, 2020
Bryan E. Leib, Former National Director of Americans Against Antisemitism & 2018 Republican Congressional Candidate for PA-03, was leading a Zoom webinar two weeks ago with Ellie Cohanim, the U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor & Combat Anti-Semitism. The webinar was quickly hijacked when “a White Supremacist crashed our Zoom meeting to flash his Swastika Tattoo to a group of Jewish teens,” Leib said in a statement to SaraACarter.com.
“This was a cowardly act designed to intimidate the teens. However, it didn’t work! The teens filed a complaint with Zoom, a police report the next day and then they publicly shamed him by posting his picture in a JNS article.” he said, “I applaud the NYC DOE for taking strong and decisive action to protect our city’s youth from white supremacists, neo-Nazis and racists of all kinds that wish to infect the minds of our youth with their hate.”
Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan recently responded to users concerned over privacy, telling CNN’s Brian Stelter, “Our service was built to serve business and enterprise customers, however, during this COVID-19 crisis, we moved too fast.”
In the past few weeks, the company has taken steps to mitigate the initial “missteps” including implementing password protections and is actively working with school systems to prevent “Zoombombings”, the CEO said.
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Chevron downsizes global San Fran headquarters, paying for employees to move to Texas office
Oil giant Chevron made a huge announcement saying it will be closing its current global headquarters in San Ramon, California. Even more telling, its encouraging employees to move to Houston, Texas.
The San Francisco Gate reported “the oil company will cover relocation costs for those voluntarily leaving for the Texas office, which has been growing and employs nearly 6,000 people. Meanwhile, the San Ramon office buildings have experienced dwindling numbers in recent years.”
Although the company is not leaving the state completely, “company leadership has pushed for a permanent move to Texas in the past” adds SFGATE. Chevron, which has had “deep roots” in California going back to the late 1800s, will vacate its 100-acre campus in 2023.
The Wall Street Journal reports the business hopes to move into a smaller space in San Ramon, which will remain its headquarters. A company spokesperson told SFGATE “the current real estate market provides the opportunity to right-size our office space to meet the requirements of our headquarters-based employee population.”
“The move is expected to occur during the third quarter of 2023” they continued. “Chevron will remain headquartered in California, where the company has a 140-year history and operations and partnerships throughout the state.”
The SFGATE notes Chevron is one of “the East Bay’s legacy companies joining the trend” to move their headquarters out of the area in recent years. Tech companies such as startups like Coinbase to industry pioneers like Hewlett Packard and Oracle have all vacated, with Elon Musk having been “one particularly outspoken voice decrying California’s business conditions.”
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