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Nazi zoombombs Winthrop town-council meeting, police say

Winthrop Police are investigating an incident involving a Zoomed Town Council discussion on flag flying on town property yesterday in which somebody "shouted an antisemitic slur, displayed a swastika on their screen and appeared to give a nazi salute."

In a statement, police add they are investigating the ranting as a hate crime:

The hateful outburst, in which the individual used an ethnic slur described by the American Jewish Committee as being primarily used today by white supremacists to denigrate Jewish people, is now the subject of an active police investigation. The Winthrop Police Department is also reaching out to its state and federal law enforcement partners to bring their considerable resources to bear on the investigation.

Town Council President James Letterie adds:

We condemn this act and all acts of hatred in or around our community, and we will always call out and condemn hatred in all its forms. There is no place for it here in Winthrop.

Officials say they are reviewing the town's use of Zoom to keep this from happening again.

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Comments

What was the context?

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How do you, of all people, not recognize that

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Tell me rwgfy, what is the context of any of your comments? It appears the answer is "none".

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So I get the hate element here, that's obvious, I'm a little unclear on the crime. Is it disorderly conduct, disrupting a public meeting? I mean shouting slurs in public is unpleasant, but you are going to smack into the 1st amendment real hard if that is the sole element of the hate crime.

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Were they holding a Palestine flag and wearing a mask chanting “from the river the sea”?

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That you think this is a very clever comment, but it's loaded with so much lack of knowledge I don't even know where to begin. I'm not sure you would even understand how stupid a comment it is if explained to you, but something tells me you enjoy living in your bubble.

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Well since you are so much smarter and superior to me then enlighten me. Come on professor, explain. Tell me why I’m stupid and your smart.

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Adam, is this bullshit ok with you?

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Looking at the framing of the few pro-ceasefire protests he has covered, Adam is totally ok with this type of antisemitism that conflates all Jewish identity with the modern state of Israel.

There have been dozens of mass demonstrations including thousands outside of Biden’s events yesterday that Adam has simply not covered because they couldn’t be framed as antisemitism since Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now have been organizing them.

If, like me, you used this site at a new source for goings on in Boston beyond condo/life science proposals and shootings the past two months have been an eye opener in terms of journalistic bias and not in a positive way.

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Did you even read the comment that I was replying to?

There have been dozens of mass demonstrations including thousands outside of Biden’s events yesterday that Adam has simply not covered because they couldn’t be framed as antisemitism since Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now have been organizing them.

Or maybe because the large majority of these "dozens" took place nowhere near Boston?

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What? You want me silenced? Adam is pretty good at letting people post and you don’t get to control me. Many have said some very hateful mean things and I still see them posting regularly. But I guess he could ban me for no reason if he wanted. If he does that I would hope he bans people with actual hateful comments. Get ahold of yourself!

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Post like yours are specifically let through to for regulars to dogpile on.

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Thank you heir.

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We just want you to shadddup.

On your own. At least while the grownups are talking.

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Not having a platform != being silenced.

Go back to the kiddie table until you learn the difference.

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So, probably more like a Confederate flag and a MAGA hat.

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Since this is Zoom hosted I assume that only the Zoom folks would be able to determine the IP address of the computer used by the thug. Zoom would have to have the IP address so that it can return the video stream.

So does this mean that a search warrant has to be issued to Zoom to collect the data? Since Zoom is based in California I assume that the warrant will have to be issued by a Federal court. In that case what Federal law is violated that would be used as the basis of the warrant?

Do we even have Federal statutes that directly address this kind situation? Last time a major communications law was enacted was in 1996.

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I always assume when towns say "track down" what they mean is that they will track down the poor official whose job it is to moderate the zoom meeting and tell them to be more stringent about who they let in and quicker to kick people off.

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They ask around if anyone recognizes the miscreant, and then come up with 570 ways to stymie the resulting FOIA when they discover the questionable person is related to someone in town government who doesn't want their family's dirty laundry aired or their young relative expelled from school.

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I work for a business with pro licenses and I am able to pull up information such as IP addresses, location, data center, connection type... myself; no Zoom or police involved - FWIW.

It would be easy to turn over the IP address and location data to the police.

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I am a Zoom admin at work and yes, it is a matter of checking the IP address, which does not have to go through Zoom itself. Presumably the town council is not using a free Zoom account so, their admin can get that info. Zoom has pretty bad analytics, but they do at least have the IPs. That said, if the person was using VPN, then you get nothing of use. In our case, the disruptive people had locations outside the US, so nothing could be done but to give suggestions to prevent future bombing.

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IP is not identity, and if it's coming from a major carrier, can be hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the perpetrator's actual location.

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so what's the basis for a warrant?

Sadly, it's been reported that tech companies violate privacy and anonymity rights all the time by handing over identities, emails, private messages without a warrant, upon a law enforcement letter demand.

You can use VPNs and make it a lot harder.

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There are laws about disrupting a public proceeding, threatening, etc.

I don't think you get to declare it a non-crime by fiat.

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No "true threat" and otherwise protected by 1st Amendment.

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Are you a lawyer?

You don't get to just decide these things. Also note: Winthrop had a grisly and fatal racist rampage not long ago.

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Maybe I'm a cop, an ex-cop, a jailhouse lawyer or an FBI agent

I'm not interested in doxxing myself for demented fanatics such as yourself.

Have at it, go through the Bar Register and try to figure out if I'm in it. Or not. There's only a few thousand in Mass.

Can you stick to the merits?

If you think it's a crime, cite the statute. Mass General Laws and US Code are searchable online.

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The hateful outburst [...] is now the subject of an active police investigation.

The bright side is that Winthrop apparently has so little real crime that the local police can devote resources to the pursuit of an inconsequential Internet troll who joined a public Zoom meeting which didn't have moderation controls properly configured.

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No physical action, no "true threat," no repeated conduct constituting harassment.

Just like Nazis marching, except on Zoom

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But medical decisions that are not your business are a "crime" that you think are worth obsessing about.

Hmmm.

Again, are you a lawyer?

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But I never said those experimental medical procedures on children were crimes. Just gross malpractice and insane.

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You're not qualified to opine on that topic either. Your comments are sheer bigotry.

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always ready to chime in.

Let's stay on topic.

What law do you think the Zoomer broke?

you got nuthin'

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...right below your vitriolic comment.

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In a sane world and according to the Town Council of Winthrop rules regarding Decorum of the Public this would be a violation of MGLA. (Chapter 39, Sec. 23c) and got the commenter thrown out of the meeting. Unfortunately for them MGLA. (Chapter 39, Sec. 23c) was repealed in 2009 for some reason.

Here's a link to the Winthrop, Massachusetts - Code of Ordinances APPENDIX:
Scroll down to APPENDIX F - RULES AND PROCEDURES OF THE TOWN COUNCIL Rule 11

https://library.municode.com/ma/winthrop/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=AP

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