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HELENA - The City of Helena is looking at alternative ways to hold City Commission Meetings after several hackers shared pornographic sounds and images during Monday night's Zoom meeting.  

Right now, the city says their main focus is fixing the problem so it doesn't ever happen again and they're apologizing to the public for the incident. 

"The virtual conference was taken over by individuals wishing to disturb an otherwise orderly meeting in which many community members were present to listen and participate in a discussion of several very important items to Helena residents, including the FY21 City Budget and 2019 Growth Policy," a press release from the city states. "The instigators broadcast graphic video and audio, and technical issues compromised staff's ability to address and remove these individuals. We regret this offensive intrusion. Over the next hours and days, City management will work with ITS support staff to try to pinpoint how these individuals gained access and take steps to make sure this doesn't happen again." 

The next steps are working with the city's IT department, to ensure safeguards are in place. The Interim City Manager says there were a couple of technical issues preventing them from taking the measures they normally have in place which could have led to the distribution.  

"We have a number of measures in place where we're able to mute everybody and prevent screen sharing, but when we attempted to do that the clerk's computer was not compliant," says Melinda Reed, Interim City Manager. "So, she was unable to take the steps she normally would have taken." 

They immediately ended Monday night's meeting. Reed went on to say as of right now they still plan to use Zoom to hold virtual meetings, and if they don't feel confident in zoom as a platform, they will look into other options going forward.  

A special meeting will be held Monday, June 29th to address any remaining agenda items. 


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