A funny thing happened during Ocean Beach Planning Group’s first attempt on April 1 to host a virtual meeting: It got hacked.
It was an April Fool’s joke no one found funny – or appreciated.
“We experienced what is being called a ‘Zoom bombing,’” said Andrea Schlageter, OB Planning Group chair. “After the first five minutes of the meeting, the number of attendees suddenly spiked, host controls were overridden, swastikas were drawn overtop the screen-shared agenda, every person in attendance was verbally harassed by name, and a porn website was screen-shared.”
Added Schlageter: “Unfortunately, we’ve learned that this has become a trend for public meetings hosted on chat platforms. Accordingly, we have filed a police report and have been assigned a case number.”
Schlageter asked that if anyone was able to record any of the meeting or have any information, contact OBPG at oceanbeachplanning.org/contact/, so that information can be forwarded to the San Diego Police Department.
“We are in contact with the City’s Attorney’s office to review what cybersecurity measures can be taken that would comply with the Brown Act, which requires our meetings to be open to the public,” said Schlageter.
She added: “On a personal note, I am disappointed. I was looking forward to thanking my fellow board members for being adaptive, making their volunteer role in the community a priority, and continuing their efforts to lead during this crisis. Unfortunately, low-brow, obnoxious harassers are adaptive too.
“But rest assured, I am not dissuaded and am looking at all options to reschedule the meeting soon. In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.”