Everyone is stuck inside now, and everyone is videoconferencing. Yes, even creeping.
The coronavirus and subsequent closure of schools forced educators around the world to turn to video chat tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and FaceTime in an attempt to continue educating their students from an appropriate social location. The rush to use this technology, however, has opened both teachers and students to a host of potential violations of privacy and harassment.
A group of Norwegian students faced disruptive reality this week when a naked boy collapsed on their school’s video call. So reported the Norwegian outlet NRK, which notes that the students involved are children, and that the person speaks directly to them while engaging in sexual activity.
The videoconference service in question is something called Whereby. Speaking to NRK, Whereby Product and Technology Manager Ingrid Ødegaard apologized and explained that the man had probably guessed the conference call link. One thing, he added, is that people are actively trying to do so.
This incident is clearly appalling, and it is important to note that opportunities for abuse are not limited to Norway’s videoconferencing service. Zoom, for example, was forced to contend with the newly called zoombombing – that is, the act of spamming a Zoom chat with unwanted pornography.
The video chat tool du jour went on to publish a blog post titled “How to Keep Party Crashers from Crashing Your Zoom Event” – on March 20 detailing how to prevent unwanted people from destroying your call. At issue is that fact, unless you tweak a few very specific settings, almost anyone with your Zoom conference link can leap.
“As with most other public forums,” read the blog post, “it is possible to have someone (who may or may not have been invited) interfere with an event meant to bring people together.”
With people posting their Zoom conference links on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere, you’ll see how it goes south.
Apple’s FaceTime doesn’t have this issue, as you need to manually add people to the call by their phone number or Apple ID. Of course, not everyone has the required macOS or iOS device. What’s more, services like Whereby and Zoom offer a different functionality than FaceTime’s straight video calling.
When using Zoom, to prevent randos from hopping on your call and zooming in on porn, you want to use the Waiting Room.
“The Waiting Room feature allows the host to control when a participant joins the meeting,” the company explained. “As the host, you can either accept the attendees individually or hold all the attendees in the waiting room and admit them all at once. You can send all participants to the waiting room when you attend your meeting or guests, participants who are not in your Zoom account or not signed in. “
Using this feature will allow a Zoom conference host to maintain unwanted creeps – so go ahead and study the complex and multiple settings.
SEE ALSO: Zoom is a work privacy disaster waiting to happen
And yes, we’ve got it: Properly configuring videoconferencing software is probably the last thing on your mind right now. But as the coronavirus pandemic keeps many of us at home for the foreseeable future, it’s worth taking a few extra moments to make sure that the only nudity you see on your video screen is put together.