Amid Data Leak Scandal, Queer Chart CEO Testifies Before ASSU Congress

December 11, 2019 6:16 pm
View, from the balcony, of congressmen and congresswomen on the house floor as the 115th Congress is called into session on its opening day, Washington DC, January 3, 2017. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

In a highly publicized inquiry, founder and CEO of Queer Chart Samantha Techington testified in front of the ASSU Congress all throughout last week, answering questions about security vulnerabilities in the program. Queer Chart — an app designed to bring together queer womxn on Stanford’s campus — was previously revealed by whistleblower and former Queer Chart employee Fodward Howden to contain glaring security flaws in its structure, allowing access to private information with startlingly little effort. (At press time, Howden’s last known location was Berkeley, where he was petitioning for asylum.)

Techington was subjected to questions about Queer Chart and its vulnerabilities in a series of hearings, with liberal ASSU senators focusing on the scope and nature of the data vulnerabilities while more conservative representatives asked questions like “What is a trans?” and “How do two women, you know… do it?” while making suggestive V-shaped hand gestures with their fingers. Techington masterfully evaded the questions and, when pressed, downplayed the severity of the problems, though she admitted that before said problems were publicized she’d been in talks with multiple campus students groups to sell them user data.

In the final hours of the hearing, Techington noted that she would be personally uncomfortable sharing information like the name of her dorm with the public, but reiterated plans to continue controlling how everyone else’s information was publicized.