A University of Lincoln student has been put on “Redwatch”, a website used by fascists and other right-wing extremists to locate and target anyone involved in anti-fascist or anti-racist movements.
Tom Myhill is the president of the Socialist Students branch in Lincoln. He regularly attends demonstrations that campaign against racist organisations. He said he was angry but not totally surprised when he found out he had been put on the site, saying: “I didn’t think they’d take too long to track me down.”
He initially found he had been placed on the website when he decided to check his MySpace page and found a message on there from someone he didn’t know, saying he’d been put on the website.
“It just so happened that I decided to check my MySpace for the first time in months, when I saw the message and checked [Redwatch]. I found a little section dedicated to me, it almost looked like a personal fan site.”
The politics student said he was embarrassed, saying Redwatch had deliberately picked certain pictures to depict him in an inappropriate and misleading way. But he joked: “I also found their choice of pictures flattering. They made it look as if they fancied me.”
All of the information and images that have been put on the website have been taken from what is publicly available on social networking sites; in his case, MySpace and Facebook. Myhill is urging students to check what content they store on these sites is accessible by anyone, from images and videos to personal contact details. He also wants to see the Students’ Union raise awareness on the issue. “It’s an important issue. Something has to be done to protect the safety and well-being of students, as well as to preserve their dignity, which is something I don’t have much left of now.”
Myhill has threatened Redwatch with legal action over the use of certain copyrighted pictures, and has contacted Google in an attempt to remove the site from its results.
“If Redwatch could easily be shut down then it should be. I’m not scared of these Nazi scumbags, even if they’re harbouring some sort of physical attraction towards me.”