A protester waves of a Canadian flag in front of parked vehicles on Rideau Street at a protest against COVID-19 measures that has grown into a broader anti-government protest, in Ottawa, Ontario, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. Photo: Justin Tang / The Canadian Press via AP (AP)
A data set leaked by an unknown hacker appears to show that Americans comprise a vast majority of users donating to Canada’s “Freedom Convoy” protest via the website GiveSendGo, a Christian-oriented platform that’s raised more than $ 8.3 million to support the movement in opposition to public health measures intended to curb the spread of the covid-19 virus.
In total, 51,665 donations are linked to US postal codes, compared to 36,201 in Canada.
While the data set shows donors in Canada are responsible for a majority of the cash, nearly half of the money — more than $ 3.6 million — appears to come from users with payment methods tied to US residences.
The data was leaked Sunday night during the Super Bowl by a hacker who defaced GiveSendGo’s website, sending visitors to a separate site with a video that accused the company of trying to foment insurrection in Ottawa. A link to the data set was provided alongside the video.
GiveSendGo, which reportedly suffered a separate leak less than two weeks ago, has so far not responded to a request for comment attempting to confirm the veracity of the data. The company’s website is “currently offline for maintenance and server upgrades,” according to a message that appeared on its homepage at the time of publication.
Gizmodo has reached out to several of the people who are listed as top donors, asking them to confirm their donations, including a person with the name Thomas Siebel, who donated $ 90,000, according to the leaked data. (Thomas Siebel is the name of an American software billionaire.)
At the time of writing, only a single donor had responded — only to say Gizmodo should investigate Black Lives Matter instead.
The data, which includes donors’ names, email addresses, and postal codes, as well as payment methods, shows thousands of dollars pouring in from other locales far from Canada, including $ 85,247 from Great Britain, $ 33,734 from Australia, $ 24,971 from Germany, $ 10,660 from the Netherlands, and $ 5,978 from New Zealand.
Smaller quantities of cash are linked to other distant countries such as Brazil ($ 483), China ($ 792), Ireland ($ 7,226), Japan ($ 2,338), South Africa ($ 1,034), and the United Arab Emirates ($ 2,130).
The map below shows the locations of donations originating from the United States based on zip codes included in the data. The sizes of the circles are relative to the amounts of money donated.
This second map reveals the amount of funding originating from each state, with California in the lead at an amount of $ 545,513. By far, the most cash came from California’s 14th Congressional district; however, a single donor’s $ 90,000 contribution accounts for the vast majority of the money. (Idaho’s 1st Congressional district is otherwise in the lead, thanks to its own large donation from someone describing themselves as an American Cryptocurrency Compatriot.)
Gizmodo acquired the data set from DDoSecretsa journalist collective that works to provide reporters with access to newsworthy leaks, which had saved a copy of the data before GiveSendGo’s site went dark.
Reporters at The Independent in Newfoundland and Labrador reached out to a former politician named in the leak Monday afternoon. The politician, Ches Crosbie, a former Progressive Conservative Party leader, confirmed the donation was real, saying it was “high time” the country put an end to all mandatory covid-19 protections.
Daily Dot reporter Mikael Thalen first reported the hack during the Super Bowl. Vice News reported on the leak earlier on Monday, identifying Siebal as a top donor.
Last week, TechCrunch reported on a “security lapse” linked to GiveSendGo, describing more than 50 GB worth of files left exposed on an unsecured server. The files reportedly included passports and driver’s licenses.
Among the files on the server were messages previously left by at least one security researcher who’d found the company’s data. The warning informed the company of a misconfiguration allowing essentially anyone to access its files.
GiveSendGo has previously hosted campaigns raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for members of the street-brawling neo-fascist group Proud Boys, including to fund travel to Washington, DC, ahead of the Jan. 6 US Capitol insurrection, and later to defend members of the group from federal charges connected with the siege.
Analysis by the threat detection company Pyrra showed a sharp increase of mentions of GiveSendGo across a range of alternative social media platforms, many of them known for hosting dangerous and extremist views. Mentions of the fundraising site spiked by 14,440% over the past 30 days, including on the QAnon hub GreatAwakening and forum 8kun, a site infamous for its violent and racist content that’s also linked to perpetrators of at least three mass shootings.
Canadian press reported Monday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was preparing to seek access to Emergencies Act powers, granting him the authority to potentially force an evacuation of border crossing areas currently occupied by protesting truckers, as well as requisition tow trucks to remove vehicles disrupting key US-Canada trade routes.
It would be the first time the Emergencies Act has ever been invoked; however, its predecessor — the War Measures Act — was invoked once during peacetime by Trudeau’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in 1970, after separatists from Quebec kidnapped then-Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte and British diplomat James Cross.
Update, 5:30 pm: Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act. In a statement, the prime minister threatened to freeze the accounts of companies whose trucks are being used in the protest and have their vehicle insurance suspended.
Update, 7pm: Added new findings from The Independent in New Foundland and Labrador.
Update, 10pm: Added specific figures to provide further context around the claim that a majority of donors appear to be US residents.
In total, 51,665 donations are linked to US postal codes, compared to 36,201 in Canada.Butt