By Erick Contreras-Rodriguez

Getting to Know Sungjoo Yoon, the Datamatch Leaker

Sungjoo Yoon ’27 became a campus celebrity when he leaked a list of Rice Purity Test scores from freshmen’s private Datamatch profiles. But despite his newfound celebrity status, Yoon doesn’t see himself as the infamous “Datamatch Leaker.”
By Kate J. Kaufman, Adelaide E. Parker, and Julia B. Torrey

On an abnormally warm late February day, Sungjoo Yoon ’27 welcomes us into his dorm in Adidas slides, cargo pants, and a navy San Francisco Giants pullover. A worn oriental rug lines the hardwood floor and vibrant posters hang above the mantel, where an 8-ball sits in front of an impressive 21-shot-glass pyramid.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, Yoon leaked a list of Rice Purity Test scores from freshmen’s private Datamatch profiles onto a website called “the data privacy project.” According to Yoon, he created the site to warn his peers about the security risks of sharing personal information on the internet.

To gain access to the data, Yoon collaborated with his 14-year-old brother and a Stanford student who served as a liaison with the group of UCLA students who first identified the leak. Several of these students said that scraping the data was “definitely unethical” and “probably not legal,” but Yoon tells us he stands by what he did, describing his reporting process as “very by the book.” He partially anonymized the students’ data, listing each Rice Purity Score alongside a set of student initials rather than their full names.

He initially published the website under the pseudonym “bernie marx” — not after Bernie Sanders and Karl Marx, he assures us, but rather after Bernard Marx from Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Even so, his identity was soon revealed in The Crimson. Hoards of Harvard students took to Sidechat to clown on Yoon, with anonymous users calling his actions “the height of arrogance,” saying the project was “copying the social network,” and describing Yoon as “an obnoxious little asshole.”

Yoon says the frenzy on Sidechat was “not what I expected and certainly not what I wanted.” Going to classes the day Sidechat descended on him, he says “I just wore sunglasses and hoped that I would blend into the 27 percent of kids at this school who are East Asian.”

“I wanted the message to take the spotlight for a couple of days and then maybe later, for my identity to be an afterthought,” he says.


Though he’s talking to us from his freshman dorm — which happens to be Mark E. Zuckerberg’s former suite — Yoon actually considers himself a member of the Class of 2026.

“I’m trying to graduate in three years, so I’m taking six classes right now and I’m taking two this summer,” says Yoon. “This is motivated by the fact that I don’t have that much money and also because I want to join the U.S. Marine Corps.”

When asked what he does on campus, Yoon mentions overnight shifts at the youth homeless shelter but otherwise doesn’t see himself as particularly involved. Instead, he prefers to work on personal projects. He runs a Substack called “Napoleonic,” where he describes himself as a “milquetoast Clintonist who played high school football” and “the ultimate woman lover.” His past projects include working as a paid columnist for the L.A. Times, publishing an op-ed in the New York Times, and even moonlighting as a world high school debate champion.

Yoon’s newest venture is a book he’s writing, which he hopes will explore the “intersection of status, anxiety, and young men’s struggles.”

Yoon says that as a middle schooler, “I felt uncomfortable and unsure about my place in the world.”

Yoon says he fell into a series of ideological echo chambers that were leading him “down a really bad path.” He says he escaped this feedback loop, but watched many of his peers struggle with “very basic things like not being sexist” and “dealing with intimacy in healthy ways.”

While he recognizes his lack of expertise, Yoon believes he has “enough anecdotal evidence and enough life experience” to write a book providing young men with a path away from toxic echo chambers.

Yoon has already witnessed the impact of his writing. As a senior in high school, he wrote a column titled “The masculinity-intimacy question” on his substack. The response from young men at his public high school in Los Angeles was, according to him, unrivaled.

“Probably north of 200 young men approached me and wanted to talk to me about their thoughts,” Yoon says. “I had people coming up to me at lunch and saying ‘Hey, this is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time, would it be okay if I spoke to you about it?’”

At Harvard, his book has garnered the opposite reaction. Yoon says that anonymous Sidechat users criticized his idea as “such a Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Nick Fuentes thing to do.” He tells us his LinkedIn profile reached 2,000 followers due to the attention.

Yoon still maintains his Substack, posting what he calls “think pieces, drunk thoughts, polemics, rants, and more.”

While writing will always be Yoon’s passion, he says he would “love to go into policy making,” something “a lot of people alluded to on Sidechat, interestingly enough.” Contrary to the rumors, though, Yoon has no interest in the presidency or any federal position. Instead, his dream job is to be the Attorney General of California.

“What I want to do with my life is just make life a little easier for regular people,” Yoon says.


Sitting on the floor of his dorm room, we see Yoon’s bookshelf as the centerpiece. It rests beneath a huge but incredibly grainy “La La Land poster. We ask him for book recommendations, and he picks up a small stack.

“These are two of my favorite books. ‘Capital’ by Thomas Piketty,” he says. “One of my favorite pieces of fiction is Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ — kind of a controversial take but it’s just a wonderful piece of literature.” He smiles, holding up his copy of the book.

Reflecting on the personal attacks, Yoon says he doesn’t mind being called “a nerd and a geek” — “I go to this school of all things.”

And despite his newfound celebrity status, Yoon doesn’t see himself as the infamous “Datamatch Leaker.”

“I was not meant to be in the place that I am right now,” Yoon says. “I truly see myself as someone who should have been chain smoking cigarettes in Eastern Europe and writing crazy political theory.”

— Associate Magazine Editor Adelaide E. Parker can be reached at

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