Criminal Justice

Journalist is federally charged with helping Anonymous hack into Tribune Co. website


A deputy social media editor at Reuters has been federally indicted, accused of participating in a conspiracy to help Anonymous hack into a former news company employer’s website.

Matthew Keys, best-known to some by his Twitter handle, @TheMatthewKeys, is charged in a Sacramento grand jury indictment (PDF) with one count each of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer, according to the indictment and a Department of Justice press release. The Huffington Post, Mashable and NPR’s the two-way blog all have reports.

As a Guardian article also details, he is accused of passing information to Anonymous via a chat board which allegedly helped the group hack into at least one Tribune Co. publication, the Los Angeles Times, and briefly alter an article. Keys formerly worked for KTXL FOX 40, a Sacramento television station owned by the Tribune Company,

If convicted, he could be sentenced to a maximum prison term of 10 years and fined up to $250,000 on each of the three counts he faces. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of his computer equipment.

None of the articles includes any comment from Keys. A Reuters spokeswoman tells the Huffington Post that the news agency is reviewing the situation, but notes that “the indictment alleges the conduct occurred in December 2010, which is more than one year before Mr. Keys joined Reuters.”

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