(LifeSiteNews) — Canadian and American media outlets, including the left-wing Washington Post, are under fire for using hacked information to allegedly harass individuals who donated to participants of the Freedom Convoy truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Ottawa.
Reuters reports that the group Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOS) got its hands on donor files from the GiveSendGo fundraising platform, obtained via what the group calls a “hack,” identifying people who donated money to the Freedom Convoy.
The hack yielded contributors’ names, email addresses, zip codes, IP addresses, and payment details. DDOS said it would offer the information to journalists and researchers instead of publishing it themselves.
Several media outlets took DDOS up on its offer. Journalist Saagar Enjeti shared a screenshot of an email in which an unidentified Washington Post reporter asked a $40 donor, identified via “leaked data,” to “share what motivated you to contribute to this campaign”:
The Washington Post is contacting people whose donation info was leaked and who gave as little as 40 dollars to the truckers to ask them why they did so
Email provided to me by a source pic.twitter.com/qbzebYyHiP
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) February 16, 2022
Further, the Ottawa Citizen reported on the case of Tammy Giuliani, an Ottawa café owner forced to close her business after the leak of her $250 donation provoked threats against her and her employees.
“When a group of people first decided they were going to travel across the country to spread this message of solidarity, it seemed like a beacon of hope for small businesses like us,” Giuliani explained. “It’s no surprise that small businesses have been on the edge. Families are at risk of losing their livelihood. I’m a sucker for a grassroots cause.”
“Never in our wildest dreams did we anticipate what has transpired over the past couple of weeks,” she continued. “None of us anticipated what it turned into and we certainly don’t condone it.
“In retrospect, it was bad judgment, but does that mean that people have a right to threaten our staff?” Giuliani asked. “Does it mean people have the right to threaten to throw bricks through our window and to threaten my family? We made a mistake. Who could have anticipated it?”
The article does not quote Giuliani elaborating on what she thinks the Freedom Convoy “turned into”; PJ Media’s Stephen Green opined that she “sounds to me like she’s been spooked into declaring her love for Big Brother. And that was the entire point of doxxing her.”
Even far-left Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota broke ideological ranks to express disapproval of journalists’ treatment of Freedom Convoy donors:
I fail to see why any journalist felt the need to report on a shop owner making such a insignificant donation rather than to get them harassed. It’s unconscionable and journalists need to do better. https://t.co/oF7WIoS1jp
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 16, 2022
Ps. I fully read the article multiple times and I still don’t believe there was merit to the story as reported other than further harassment. You all are entitled to your opinions, but my opinion remains the same. These kinds of stories ruin people’s lives and are uncalled for.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 17, 2022
Freedom Convoy fundraising moved to GiveSendGo after crowdfunding giant GoFundMe canceled donations to the cause; Canadian officials subsequently attempted to freeze donations on GiveSendGo.
The Freedom Convoy is protesting the COVID vaccine mandates that impede their ability to cross the Canadian border into the United States, perpetuating ongoing supply-chain struggles. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims the mandates are an alternative to COVID restrictions rather than a continuation of them, despite the fact that those vaccinated for COVID-19 still contract and spread the virus. In Ontario, the fully-vaccinated make up the majority of COVID-associated hospitalizations in Ontario.
Nevertheless, Trudeau has sharply condemned the Freedom Convoy, going so far as to invoke the Emergencies Act, assuming unprecedented power to freeze personal bank accounts without a court order and broadening the scope of anti-money laundering and terror financing rules to cover crowdfunding platforms and their payment service providers.