Hacking Allegations In Regina Election

Pat Book at CJME is breaking this story as I type. Here’s the news as we know it: mayoral candidate Liz Brass is coming forward with allegations that she has been the victim of computer hacking.

According to Brass, starting in the spring, she noticed that her e-mail, Facebook account and campaign website had been compromised by hackers. She says she believes campaign-related files were stolen from her computer.

Regina Police Service has confirmed that they have received a complaint about this and are investigating. They could not give any other details.

Brass says she believes the attacks were an effort to undermine her run for mayor. And the attacks were successful insofar as her ability to organize was hindered as she could not promote her run through the internet until she was able to secure her website, e-mail and Twitter from further attacks. She also says that the whole experience took a psychological toll on her and her family.

I’ve spoken with the RPS about this. And as I say, they have policies that prevent them from giving any more detail than “an investigation is taking place.” They won’t even confirm or deny if something criminal has actually occurred as, apparently, determining if a crime has happened is part of an investigation.

The communications people at the RPS are really nice. Really, really nice. But man, they’re infuriatingly vague.

So, normally, with a story like this, we’d be able to take a look at the evidence the complainant has brought forward and make an educated guess as to whether or not an election-related crime has actually occurred. But in this case, as hacking is involved, I can’t look into Liz Brass’ computer and examine the gewgaws and scrimshaws and say, something hinky is definitely going on here. For all I know, this is a web attack that’s completely unrelated to the election. Or maybe not. Or maybe she’s facing a really nasty Word bug. (I’ve seen those. They can be nasty. And they can appear sentient.)

More details as they emerge.

UPDATE: Have spoken with Donnelly and Fougere. Both say that they have not experienced any hacking or dirty tricks. And they would of course condemn any such activities if they’ve occurred.

UPDATE #2: Included a link to Book’s story over at CJME. Has a lot more detail.

UPDATE #3: And I’ve now spoken to Meka Okochi. He also says that he has not experienced any hacking or dirty tricks. He also condemns any such actions. Should also note that Donnelly, Fougere and Okochi say that they nor anyone involved with their campaigns have been contacted by the police.

Follow all of our online election coverage — including interviews, analysis and podcasts — on our Regina City Election 2012 page. And you can read about everyone running in this election on our Candidate Profiles page.

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

18 thoughts on “Hacking Allegations In Regina Election”

  1. Hacking in a civic election? Why bother?
    Hacking in Provincial or Federal elections, then I’d be concerned.

  2. So, has the investigation been going on since spring, when apparently the problem was first noticed? If so, why are the allegations only coming forward now?

  3. @1: Think it through: anyone who’d hack in a civic election could also hack at other levels.

  4. I just want to stress that the RPS have said they will not confirm that anything criminal has occurred. Nor that anything election-related has happened. Only that they have been contacted by the Brass campaign and that they are investigating. And that determining if something criminal has occurred is part of any investigation.

  5. Barb, the story is now posted on our web site. Brass tells me she went to police in August but they only recently finished going over her computers looking for evidence. She couldn’t say anything prior to that for fear that if word got out the perpetrator’s trail would dry up in a hurry.

    And frankly, #1, I was surprised to hear it, maybe even skeptical at first. A municipal election doesn’t seem high-profile enough to draw this kind of activity. But all someone needs is an agenda, I guess.

  6. I always find it strange that civic politics are seen as less important than provincial or federal politics. For me it’s the inverse. And if some of the things that are happening in this civic election (the stadium money-dump, the ‘reginavotes’ website, yesterday’s coverage of that stupid Insightrix poll) happened in a provincial or federal election there would be hell to pay. Municipal governments are the authorities that need to be strong when disaster hits. Just think of when the Rapture comes: Who will be whisked up? Exactly.

  7. @6: Thanks; just read it.
    As to agendas, you don’t have to go very far to find them in this civic race.

    Here’s a thought, for those who think that somehow civic level hacking is too infra dig: if this was targeted hacking, maybe it’s a warmup for something bigger.

  8. I agree completely Carle. I’m fortunate enough to have a news director behind me who feels city hall has a greater day-to-day impact on people’s lives than other levels of government. We agree on that and try our best to cover it accordingly.

  9. #ElectionCrimes


    How did CJME “break” this story? Did they find this out without an announcement being made before anyone else? Did LB come to CJME exclusively?

    Anyway, probably more likely home-construction corporate espionage. Isn;t she like, VP of “Brass Homes”?

  10. Hi all of you at the Dog. Come clean on the proposed stadium. Check the MOU and you will find that the full cost is %675 million and $300 million will come from property taxes. I know, most of you will not be in Regina for another 30 years. And I will certainly be dead. And my kids have already fled to B.C. But a few will still be here to help pay for the stadium.

  11. #1 Hacking any election,makes sense to the people that are going to benefit if “thier” candidate wins..

    #4 You, are the instigator.

    #6 Welcome to the Paraire Dog blog
    commenter hell !! lol

    #7 Hi Carle! Should I stay? Or should I go now!?!

    #10 Yer still gonna vote…right?

    #11 yer right John.

  12. #9

    beelzebub has a devil put aside…
    Mr. Fred Meurcury October 31,1975.

    Do You really “belive” your statement?

    Fuck!! I can “Film” a Regina Roller Derby league match, Agribition, birds ETC,ETC live, and have it posted and properly titled onto yeewtobe,minutes after any event.
    I don’t use a phone, but a >@200 camera.

    Do you want to expand on; ” cover it(?),( CoR issues ?),accordingly”

    Your best ,up until the Editorial Decisions Kick in..

  13. @12 Probably I’ll still vote. I want to cast my 1/8th of a non-Fougere vote for mayor, while supporting the Ward 3 candidate who’s the least likely to be a seething egomaniac-in-waiting.

  14. #3 – Yes Barb. I both agree with you & I’m perfectly aware that skilled hackers can potentially get into many sites or places. I’d be very nervous when bad hackers can create chaos if they break into the city systems controlling traffic lights, power, infrastructure services, billing and water treatment plants. Civic elections aren’t always considered as big a target when bigger targets exist.

    #6 – Point taken Patrick. All 9 Mayor candidates have their own election agendas. Since this happened to only 1 candidate, I’d like to know why this didn’t happen to the others. Especially those who are most likely to win the mayor position. Liz Brass isn’t one of them.

    #13 – I agree with you on that Ron. In this case though, 9 mayor candidates is way too many. When 1 lesser known mayor candidate is hacked, it will not affect the final results that much. A better strategy would have been to hack into more than one higher profile mayor candidate to cause many problems.

  15. I also have not experienced any problems of this nature. I told Patrick the same. If I had the means to rig the election by exploiting computer humbug spams and such, I am sure I would maintain my personal integrity and not bother. :) -Charles

  16. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in awhile.

    After reading the news980 article…

    Someone hacked into you under construction website that was not on the internet? Really!

    And on that under construction website that was not on the internet you lost some crucial campaign files apparently you never backed up? Really (stupid)!

    Your personal and business emails were repeatedly compromised. Ever consider changing the password after the first attempt occurred? Really (must be a techno-tard)!

    Then you started emailing supports viruses? Oh you’re that person, I have a few of them and they now go straight to spam. You need a computer 101 course or maybe surfing to “Those” sites ;) ;) is your problem.

    Bottom line I think I may vote this year after hearing this story; just to vote against you. You can’t even handle your own housekeeping so why would we give you a whole city to infect with your negligence?

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