Cyber attack exposes private information of Berkeley College Republicans

Timothy Dawson/Staff

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Members of the Berkeley College Republicans and other campus students were the victims of a cyber attack Friday, which exposed their private information in a public post online.

The political organizing group Northern California Anti-Racist Action published a post that named and shared information about students involved with BCR gathered from social media accounts in opposition to the group’s February event featuring Milo Yiannopoulos. Both BCR and ASUC President Will Morrow posted responses to the incident on Facebook condemning this illegal activity known as doxxing.

“It is a dangerous precedent in an academic environment for student groups to be subjected to harassment and cyber doxxing based on political affiliation,” Morrow said. “This goes beyond any singular political frame or any one event context — rather this is something that the foundation of our university is in many ways built on.”

BCR member and campus freshman Matt Ronnau was among those named in the post. Ronnau said he has not been involved in organizing the event featuring Yiannopoulos. He added that he has made his Facebook account private in response to the post.

“The article is wrong in the moral sense and in the factual sense,” Ronnau said. “When I didn’t know (that I was named), I thought it would be interesting but then seeing my information on there was … a little scary.”

Campus senior Nick Winterer was also named in NoCARA’s post. But unlike Ronnau, Winterer is not affiliated with BCR, nor does he know anyone else named in the post. He said in a Facebook message that he used to be affiliated with Cal Students for Liberty but is no longer active.

“I can’t say that I’ve been affected in any way by my information being posted,” Winterer said in a Facebook message. “I will say that I find it disrespectful that no attempt was made to verify the accuracy of the information posted.”

He said the post misidentified someone in a screenshot of a video as him.

The post claimed to be aimed at informing the local community about “white supremacist and fascist students using the guise of ‘free speech’ to encourage hate and violence against those already marginalized and oppressed.”

No one from NoCARA was available for comment as of press time. The executive board for BCR was also unable to be reached as of press time.

This isn’t the first instance of private information being shared publicly on campus. In April, and again in October, the David Horowitz Freedom Center put up posters naming and criticizing students and faculty for their involvement with the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine.

“We believe that personal attacks have no legitimate place in this conversation or at this university — before, during, or after the upcoming event — and we urge everyone, no matter their perspectives, to refrain from engaging in them,” said campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof in an email.

Contact Aleah Jennings-Newhouse at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ajn_dc.

A previous version of this article may have implied that Will Morrow is the president of the Berkeley College Republicans and the ASUC president. In fact, he is only the ASUC president.