By Raphael Satter and Anna Mehler Paperny
LONDON/TORONTO -A website devoted to disseminating leaked data says it was given reams of information about donors to a Canadian movement opposed to pandemic health measures after a fundraising platform popular with supporters of the group allegedly suffered a hack.
Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS) said on its website late on Sunday that it had 30 megabytes of donor information from the U.S.-based Christian fundraising site GiveSendGo, including names, email addresses, ZIP codes and internet protocol addresses.
The funding of the Canadian protests has emerged as a key point of interest as authorities in Ottawa and elsewhere try to get a grip on rallies led by truckers that have been blockading cities and border crossings across Canada with demands that include the deposition of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In an email on Monday, a GiveSendGo spokesperson said that the site was still soliciting donations to the “Freedom Convoy 2022” campaign and that donations were not being refunded. The spokesperson did not immediately comment on the hack itself.
The site, however, appeared to be offline. Website visitors were met with a message that it was under maintenance and “we will be back very soon.”
GiveSendGo had previously asserted it was not subject to a Canadian court order that froze these funds.
A journalist at the Daily Dot digital news outlet said on Twitter that the GiveSendGo site suffered a hack overnight and had its front page briefly replaced by a clip from the movie “Frozen” and a manifesto accusing it of supporting “an insurrection in Ottawa.”
Reuters could neither immediately confirm the hack nor the leak claims, although Distributed Denial of Secrets has a long record of hosting leaked data from right-wing organizations, including the far-right Patriot Front and the Oath Keepers.
DDoS said that because the donor information contained sensitive personal information, it would not be making the data available publicly but would instead be offering it to “journalists and researchers.”
DDoS describes itself as a non-profit devoted to enabling the free transmission of data in the public interest.
GiveSendGo became a prime conduit for money to the protesters after mainstream crowdfunding platform GoFundMe blocked donations to the self-declared Freedom Convoy. Earlier this month the group said it had raised $8 million for the protests.
North America’s busiest trade link reopened for traffic late on Sunday, ending a six-day blockade, Canada Border Services Agency said, after Canadian police cleared the protesters fighting to end COVID-19 restrictions.
(Reporting by Raphael Satter in London and Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Howard Goller)