Earth & Conservation

GamerGate Target Is Running for Congress and Criticizing the FBI

Video game CEO Brianna Wu says the FBI failed to properly investigate the GamerGate controversy and is running for Congress in Massachusetts to make the internet a safer space.

The FBI's recent report on their investigation into the GamerGate controversy is being harshly criticized by Brianna Wu, a GamerGate target who recently announced she's running for Congress in Massachusetts' 8th District.

The 173-page report details incidents of multiple female game developers and journalists receiving online harassment and death threats, but Wu claims it excludes the extensive information that she and her employees collected and submitted to the FBI.

The FBI's report "ignored the information we had gone to such lengths to compile for them," Wu, an experienced software engineer and co-founder of Giant Spacekat, told Seeker. "We gave them names, we gave them addresses, we gave them contacts at tech companies. They had everything they needed to proceed, and they just didn't care."

The online attacks against Wu began after she spoke out against the misogyny she frequently witnessed, and was subjected to, in the gaming industry. She received so many threats that she was forced to leave her home temporarily, out of fear for her safety.

There are some details in the FBI's report that appear to reference Wu's harassment, including a "doxxing" incident in Massachusetts, referring to the act of releasing someone's personal information online, such as their address, phone number or social security number.

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But most of the information Wu provided was excluded, which she sees as both a failure of the FBI and motivation to get involved politically.

"I had many reasons for running for Congress, but seeing the structural failure of the FBI to respond to criminal harassment was certainly one of them," Wu said.

"It feels like so many institutions are failing to do the right thing with women," she added. "That's why we need to run for office and do the right thing ourselves."

The FBI report does include details of a bomb threat that was made against an unnamed subject before a speech at Utah State University in October 2014, which VentureBeat deduced is Feminist Frequency critic Anita Sarkeesian. The threat forced Sarkeesian to cancel her talk.

The report also details a separate Utah State incident in which someone threatened to carry out a "Montreal Massacre style attack," referring to the 1989 shooting of 14 women at the École Polytechnique, using a "semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs."

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The threat said feminism "has taken over every facet of our society and women like [redacted] want to punish us for even fantasizing about being men."

In her campaign for Congress, one of Wu's main platform issues is cybersecurity and privacy. She plans to use these issues as a way to fight online harassment and make the internet a safer space for both women and men.

"Many people would benefit from these policies, not just women," Wu said. "If elected, I plan to support [Massachusetts U.S. Rep.] Katherine Clark in passing two pieces of legislation. The first is a law that would make swatting people [prank calls that draw a large police response] a federal crime. The second is making doxxing people a crime."

Wu also plans to advocate for women in other areas of policy as well, including reproductive rights. "The assault on women's healthcare is something that absolutely must be stopped," she said.

"Women's rights are human rights, it's not a niche special interest," Wu added. "We need members of Congress that will stand up for that unapologetically."

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