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NYC Bans Teachers From Using Zoom Over ‘Zoombombing’ Concerns

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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.”

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.”

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.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from “Zoombombings” click here.

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Immigration

BREAKING: Senate votes down both articles of impeachment against Mayorkas in party-line vote

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Mayorkas

The Senate voted down two articles of impeachment Wednesday which alleged Department of Homeland Security Secretary  Alejandro Mayorkas engaged in the “willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law” regarding the southern border in his capacity as DHS secretary. The second claimed Mayorkas had breached public trust.

What resulted in a party-line vote, began with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposing a point of order declaring the first article unconstitutional, to which the majority of senators agreed following several failed motions by Republicans. The article was deemed unconstitutional by a vote of 51-48, with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voting present.

Fox News reports:

Schumer’s point of order was proposed after his request for unanimous consent, which would have provided a set amount of time for debate among the senators, as well as votes on two GOP resolutions and a set amount of agreed upon points of order, was objected to by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo.

Schmitt stated in his objection that the Senate should conduct a full trial into the impeachment articles against Mayorkas, rather than the debate and points of order suggested by Schumer’s unanimous consent request, which would be followed by a likely successful motion to dismiss the articles. 

Republican senators took issue with Schumer’s point of order, as agreeing to it would effectively kill the first of the two articles. Several GOP lawmakers proposed motions, which took precedence over the point of order, to adjourn or table the point, among other things. But all GOP motions failed. 

After another batch of motions to avoid voting on Schumer’s second point of order, which would deem the second article unconstitutional, the Senate agreed to it. The vote was along party lines 51-49, with Murkowski rejoining the Republicans. 

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