Disbelief and shock. That’s what’s sweeping across the Web following news that one of its best and brightest social journalists, Reuter’s Matthew Keys, has been indicted by the Department of Justice for allegedly helping Anonymous deface the Los Angeles Times website in 2011. (See the full indictment below.)
The 26-year-old deputy social media editor has been charged with providing hackers with server login credentials to access the Tribune Company’s site. Keys had previously worked as a web producer for the Tribune-owned KTXL FOX 40, in Sacramento, Calif. The charges are serious, but what he allegedly did… wasn’t, really. The site break-in described in the indictment led to a hack that defaced a story.
Keys has been charged 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. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count. In addition, he also must forfeit property related to the crime.
Journalists and members of the media are still having trouble wrapping their heads around the news.