Matthew Keys, a former Reuters journalist, who was convicted in October 2015 of supporting the Anonymous collective, has been sentenced to 24 months in prison for computer hacking charges.
Keys has been accused of providing Anonymous login credentials that allowed the group to deface access and deface the website of the Los Angeles Times in 2013.
When Keys left Tribune Company-owned Sacramento KTXL Fox 40 in 2010, he shared login credentials of the CMS used by the website with members of Anonymous. The Journalist shared the credentials on a chatroom that was ordinarily used by Anonymous members to coordinate their attacks.
Anonymous logged into the Los Angeles Times and modified an article that remained online until a journalist noticed the changes.
Keys, that always denied any accusation, faced a possible sentence of up to 25 years for three counts of hacking charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The Keys’ case has been largely debated due to his position at Reuters and the nature of the crime he alleged committed. After he had been charged with the hacking crime, Keys stopped working for the Reuters.
I personally consider this penalty disproportionate for this specific case, and the judge shared my thought when condemned the man to two years in jail and 2 years of supervised release.
“When we do appeal, we’re not only going to work to reverse the conviction, but try to change this absurd computer law, as best we can.” Tweeted Keys after the judgment.
When we do appea, we’re not only going to work to reverse the conviction but try to change this absurd computer law, as best we can.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) 13 aprile 2016
Matthew Keys also published a blog post on Medium to argue his innocence.
“I’ve tried my best to commit acts of journalism every day while the legal process plays itself out.”
“I’m incredibly proud of the work I’ve done — the 14-month investigation into cellphone surveillance devices, exposing a falsehood by Ferguson’s former police chief, unearthing new details in the beating of a man by California deputies and helping to grow and nurture a grassroots online community, just to name a few. I could not have done that if it wasn’t for your support.” Wrote Keys.
“Specifically, I’d like to recognize the publishers, editors and writers who were able to see through the baseless, absurd and entirely wrong accusations levied against me and who continued to find value in the work I produced.”
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(Security Affairs – Matthew Keys, hacktivism)