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On February 13, the conservative-run crowdfunding platform GiveSendGo was hacked, exposing the names, emails and locations of citizens who donated to the Freedom Convoy 2022 protest in Canada. Now several of those citizens are suffering harassment, firings and threats after their names were exposed.
For example, Tammy Giuliani, the owner of Stella Luna Gelato Café in Ottawa, donated $250 to the convoy. After her donation was revealed, her business and family received serious threats of violence, forcing her to close her shop to protect her staff.
Giuliani explained that she initially supported the truckers and even brought them food, but later regretted donating the money and supporting them due to some conflicts she had with protesters at her location. However, she said that donating money did not justify the threats she and her employees received.
In Ontario, a public employee of the Ontario government also lost her job after donating $100 to the Canadian truckers. She was Marion Isabeau Ringuette, who worked as director of communications for Ontario Attorney General Sylvia Jones.
Ringuette had donated the money and signed with the initials “M.R,” however, she lost her job after local media outlet QP Briefing revealed her identity “based on the email address and postal code tied to the contribution.”
QP Briefing reported in an article that it “brought the information to the attention of Isabeau-Ringuette and Premier Doug Ford’s office late Tuesday afternoon,” Feb. 15, seeking confirmation from the premier’s office.
“Ms. Isabeau-Ringuette no longer works for the Ontario government,” responded Ivana Yelich, Ford’s spokesperson. “We’re not commenting any further as this is a staffing matter.”
The media outlet also disclosed the names of other officials who donated small sums of money to the truckers.
Canadian and American media harass GiveSendGo donors
QP Briefing is not the only media outlet that has published information about the convoy donors revealed by the GiveSendGo hack. On the website of TBNewsWatch, a media outlet based in the City of Thunder Bay, an article titled “Data leaks shows 140 local area people donated to convoy campaign” was published.
The article reads that, “according to the data, allegedly hacked from the Christian-based crowd-funding site and shared with journalists and researchers, donations from P7 and P0 postal codes totaled $18,612, an average of $132.94 per donation.”
Another media outlet that published about donors was SeaWay News, of Cornwall, Ontario, where a story was released highlighting that 35 residents of this small town had donated to the convoy.
For The Post Milllenial, a conservative American media outlet, news of this style belongs to a “shaming campaign to villainize donors of a movement that is peacefully protesting for the removal of mandates.”
Saagar Enjeti, co-host of Breaking Points, revealed that the Washington Post (WaPo) has been contacting donors who contributed with as little as $40 in support of the truckers.
Social networks were filled with criticism against the WaPo, accusing the media outlet of harassing donors and attempting to reveal irrelevant information or information of little interest to the general public.
While it has not yet been identified who organized the attack against GiveSendGo, a famous self-described “cyberterrorist” named Aubrey Cottle claimed credit for the hack on the social network TikTok.
“Yes, I tossed the trucker. I hacked GiveSendGo, and I’d do it again. I’d do it a hundred times. I did it. I did it. Come at me. What are you going to do to me?” said Cottle in the video. “I’m literally a famous f***ing cyberterrorist, and you think that you can scare me?”
According to Washington Examiner, Cottle had already posted a video on Feb. 7 apparently warning of a possible crowdfunding attack.
“It’d be a real shame if something were to happen to GiveSendGo,” the hacker said, a week before the hacking materialized.
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.