Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union presidential candidate Annie Constantinescu has reportedly had both her Facebook and e-mail accounts hacked over the past two days. According to a YouTube video Constantinescu posted shortly after 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, her personal Facebook account was “compromised” on the evening of Jan. 30, with the passwords and security questions being changed.
As of Friday evening, Constantinescu had filed an official report with Special Constables Services, and is working with both Sean Madden, chief returning officer, and the acting dean of students, Adam Lawrence, in order to find out who was responsible for hacking her accounts.
Constantinescu, while clearly upset about the potential impact of these events on her campaign, told The Cord that as of now, the hacker has not been able to make any changes via her online identity that will have a profound effect on her campaign.
“As soon as I found out that my account was actually compromised, I e-mailed my campaign manager right away and they went and removed me from an administrator from the group,” explained Constantinescu. “The [hacker] went through all my Facebook contacts, they unadded friends, they changed personal information, they untagged me from some photos … so we don’t know if they were intending to [get at] the Facebook page, but they did leave it alone, which was good.”
Right now, Constantinescu still does not have access to either her personal Facebook account, or the e-mail account that was attached through it. Her personal Twitter account, however, was unaffected.
When asked what her initial reaction was, Constantinescu explained how disappointed she was that had someone potentially tried to tamper with the WLUSU student elections.
“At first I was very sad, I think I was just very disappointed that someone would have some sort of ulterior motives to affect the integrity of the entire campaign,” she said. “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.”
“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 continued.
However, she is trying to put these events aside for the moment in order to move forward with her campaign.
“It’s very discouraging and I know my team feels a little bit targeted, but it in no way, shape or form we’ve been stressing this — will it affect how we’re going to campaign,” Constantinescu said assuredly. “When it comes down to it … it’s the student’s we’re trying to focus on, and we’re still trying to get the message across, whether its from my personal account or something online, it’s still our presence on campus that we really want to make known; we’re going to continue and do what we do; we have to focus on ourselves and move forward.”
Fellow WLUSU presidential candidate Chris Walker took to Facebook to voice his support for Constantinescu.
“I am so disappointed to hear that someone had the gall to violate the privacy of another candidate,” said a post from Walker’s account shortly after 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
“This has been a challenging race, but it has been one where all candidates have shown the class that we have come to expect. The fact that Annie had her privacy violated is not only appalling given her integrity throughout the campaign, but it is also incredibly disappointing that someone would undermine our democratic process with such tactics. This has no place in any election. I stand with all Laurier students condemning this act.”