Reuters' Social Media Editor Indicted on Hacking Charges

Posted on March 14, 2013

A Reuters social media editor has been charged with assisting in the hack of the website of L.A. Times. The New York Times reports that Matthew Keys, who used to be a web producer at KTXL Fox 40, is accused of giving logins and passwords to hackers who used the information to hack the newspaper and change content.

Keys was charged in a three count indictment which alleges he helped hackers make changes to the Tribune-owned website and to damage computer systems. One L.A. Times news article headline was changed from "Pressure Builds in House to Pass Tax-Cut Package" to "Pressure Builds in the House to Elect CHIPPY 1337."

The charges are very serious. Keys faces up to ten years in prison for each count and a fine of up to $750,000. The alleged actions took place before Keys took his current position at Reuters.

The potential severity of his sentence and fines have prompted online protests against the way the Justice Department prosecutes internet-related crimes. Activists cite the suicide of 26 year old programmer Aaron Swarz, who was despondent over charges against him relating to a hack of MIT.

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