Hacked during campaign

(Photo by Kate Turner)
(Photo by Kate Turner)

Last week during her campaign period presidential-elect Annie Constantinescu found that both her personal Facebook account and e-mail had been hacked.

While nothing had been done to compromise her campaign within the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union elections, a report was still filed with Special Constables since her personal privacy had been breached.

“At first I was very sad, I think I was just very disappointed that someone would have some sort of ulterior motifs to affect the integrity of the entire campaign,” said Constantinescu. “I’m not really much at liberty to say what the intentions of the person [were], if it was personal or election driven, but the fact that they have 100 per cent eliminated my ability to campaign online through my personal Facebook account.”

As soon as she noticed what had happened, Constantinescu went to see Adam Lawrence, the acting dean of students at Laurier, to ensure her personal safety was protected, and so her campaign could move forward.

“I was glad that Annie came,” Lawrence told The Cord. “We explained [to her] that we don’t investigate things, so we’re not an investigative tool, but what we were able to do was to gather information from what Annie had, and really try to help her navigate the university community.”

Lawrence explained that he helped Constantinescu connect with the appropriate resources on campus that could help her investigate the situation, as well as make her feel comfortable moving forward until her social media outlets were regained.

After hearing about the hacking incident, the dean of students office contacted all the other presidential candidates to ensure that their campaigns weren’t being affected. His office is also waiting to hear from Special Constables when the investigation is finished, so they can take the appropriate actions if need be.

“We will be waiting to see what happens with the investigation, and we really want to be neutral so that if a student conduct issue does come forward, we want to make sure that we are neutral in dealing with that,” he said.

If a student is found to be at fault, Lawrence explained, “That student, or that group of students, would go through the judicial affairs process — our student code of conduct process — just the same as everyone else, and really there’s a wide variety of things that could happen, it’s really all hypothetical at this point.”

Sean Madden, chief returning officer for the WLUSU elections, had also been working with Constantinescu to ensure that her campaign was not affected.

“My biggest concern as CRO was making sure [that] she felt that her abilities as a candidate weren’t being compromised,” he said.

Madden also explained what would happen in the event that another campaign team or member is found to be responsible for hacking her social media feeds.

“If it turns out that another candidate or other team might have been responsible then of course we’ll do things from an enforcement perspective,” Madden explained. “There’s always the possibility that it was someone who associated themselves with the campaign team, and thought in their own head that they were being a hero, but in most circumstances — [and] we’ve talked about this — it would probably be an immediate dismissal of the candidate.”

While the culprit has yet to be identified, Constantinescu still expressed disappointment at the idea of a Laurier student being responsible for compromising her accounts.

“It was a very disappointing thing and a very disheartening thing because I’ve always had such faith in the Laurier community, and it was very shocking,” she said.

Constantinescu, however, is eager to find out who is responsible for hacking into her accounts.

“I want to get to the bottom of this, [and] the election team wants to get to the bottom of this,” she concluded.

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