Using Hacked Data, Washington Post, Reuters Go After Doxxed Freedom Convoy Donors

Protestors who are in support of the Truckers Freedom Convoy block the roadway at the Ambassador Bridge border crossing, in Windsor, Ontario on February 9

Geoff Robins/AFP, Getty

The identities of individual donors to a GiveSendGo-based fundraiser for the “Freedom Convoy” Canadian trucker protest were exposed by hackers, who distributed lists of their names and addresses. That doxxing has now led to those donors being targeted by the Washington Post, Reuters, and other media outlets — not to mention harassed on social media.

The Washington Post has written extensively about the hacked data, including names of donors, and has emailed individuals to ask why they donated. Additionally, verified Twitter users from the Post and other outlets have shared the names and email addresses of those donors directly in tweets.

Reuters has published names online along with access to the list, and the CBC and other Canadian press have published names and contacted doxxed individuals.

The hack of the Christian-owned GiveSendGo fundraising website took place only a few days ago, and the data was published online. The fundraiser was hosted there after major crowdfunding website GoFundMe shut down a page raising money for the trucker protest in Canada, first seizing the funds before relenting and offering refunds under public pressure.

The donor database from GiveSendGo was shared online, and several major news outlets not only linked to the materials but mined it for stories.

Journalist and podcaster Saagar Enjeti is one of multiple people reporting on emails allegedly sent from unnamed Washington Post staff, and his tweet on the subject included a screenshot.

It is not just the Washington Post “reaching out” to these donors for interrogation. Canadian press have been tracking down donors, too.

When the New York Post was suspended from Twitter over their article about Hunter Biden‘s laptop, Twitter cited their “hacked materials policy” as the basis, but also updated the policy as a result of that incident.

The new policy says the company does not “permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking by the people or groups associated with a hack.”

However, in this case, that seems to be exactly what is happening. The hacked donor names are being used directly on Twitter by the Washington Post‘s Aaron Davis, who has a thread that includes names as well as statistical data on the hacked material.

Verified user Dean Blundell has also shared the list on Twitter, so far without consequence.

Twitter’s updated policy on hacked materials further states that the company may “label Tweets containing or linking to hacked materials to help people understand the authenticity or source of these materials and provide additional context.”

Reuters has not been flagged for their tweets linking to their publication of donor names obtained from the hacked materials.

The ramifications of these actions go beyond Twitter and other social media. As Glenn Greenwald mentioned, the ACLU and other organizations have long fought for the right to privacy for donors. The principles in question are about privacy as well as standards of journalism. Hacked materials weren’t banned by some social media companies out of quirky internet conventions, it was done because the issue of attacking private individuals in a public space using illicit or unethically-obtained information is a serious one.

Among those sharing the information online from the Washington Post and elsewhere, such concerns do not appear to have entered into the equation. Instead, the zealous pursuit of private citizens is motivated simply by the political aspects involved, and the ideology of the donors and their cause.

As CNN contributor Mary Katharine Ham put it on Twitter, “This is so toxic.”

As of the time of this post, none of the news outlets have opted to remove any hacked materials or delete tweets that contain names obtained from the hacks. As it stands, private individuals who donated to the protest fundraiser continue to be treated as fair game, something that is not the case for every cause out there.

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Caleb Howe is an editor and writer focusing on politics and media. Former managing editor at RedState. Published at USA Today, Blaze, National Review, Daily Wire, American Spectator, AOL News, Asylum, fortune cookies, manifestos, napkins, fridge drawings...