An employee of Reuters has been indicted by the US Justice Department on the grounds that he helped members of the loose-knit hactivist group Anonymous deface the Los Angeles Times website. 26-year-old Matthew Keys of Secaucus, New Jersey, was charged in the Eastern District of California with 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 DOJ, Keys used to work at KTXL FOX 40 in Sacramento, California as a web producer. He was fired from the company in October 2010 and allegedly handed over passwords belonging to the television station’s parent company, the Tribune Company, to members of Anonymous in December of that same year. From there, the Justice Department says Keys encouraged the group to deface the Los Angeles Times website which is owned by Tribune Company.
Keys is the deputy social media editor at Reuters so naturally, he took to Twitter when news of the charges broke. In a tweet dated March 14, Keys said he was fine and that he found out about the incident the same way everyone else did – from Twitter. He said he was going to take a break that evening and it would be business as usual the next day.
If convicted on all three charges, he could be looking at up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000. As the DOJ reminds us, Keys is presumed innocent until proven guilty.