Leo saw it as a way to counter what he saw as an inadequate response from the local police, who have often sided with the trust. To make the map public and his neighbors get input information, he asked Ottawa City Councilor Shawn Maynard to share the link on his Twitter feed.
Maynard says he felt it was his duty to do so. “The site shows how organized residents, supported by technological tools, can allow for powerful knowledge sharing and community crowdsourcing, which paints a bigger picture that would normally be reserved for conventional forces such as the police,” he says. “I shared that because of the lack of support for Ottawa residents by traditional organizations.”
This project was the center of quick revenge. Within hours, the site was flooded with spam. “There were beautiful graphic pornographic images, racism, antisemitic content, abuse,” says Leo. The spam was so effective that it temporarily shut down the site.
Leo’s activity is aimed at alerting local residents and not identifying specific people, rather than pursuing protesters. But other activists in Ottawa are moving things forward. One site, Conway Terriers, is using WordPress to try to find out who they are, license plates written on trucks, photos of company names.
“Our mission is to document every business known to be involved in the business of the Ottawa 2022 Truckers fleet,” the site’s mission statement said. “These include truckers, ancillary businesses, hotels and restaurants. By naming and tagging we hope to ensure that any future internet search reflects the true nature of these businesses. ” (No contact information was available to request a comment.)
Another source, @ottawaconvoyreport on Instagram, posted photos and reels of people and trucks who may have been involved in illegal behavior. The account is reminiscent of @homegrownterrorists who used his feed to name and shame those who took part in the January 6 uprising in the US Capitol. On February 10, @homegrownterrorists, an anonymous account, shared information from @ottawaconvoyreport on its Instagram stories, suggesting that it approves of the approach.