Former Reuters journalist Matthew Keys sentenced to 2 years for a 40-minute web defacement

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Shouldn’t it be 40 minutes of jail time for 40 minutes of internet defacement?


Stupid pathetic waste of time and tax money. This should be a civil suit. If we’re going to insist on making an example of him, fine him and give him a few months. Two years is too much for this thing people do on Wikipedia all the time.


Meanwhile if he just spray painted graffiti on the side of the Times building, he’d be sentenced to community service at worse.


The only real miscarriage I see there is the affluenza teen, and there isn’t much you can do about jury nullification. Keys did a profoundly stupid thing, in a way that he could not possibly have been unaware would result in harm. The fact that the harm was minimal is incidental. It might well not have been.


(additional word & emphasis mine)

Seriously, when are we going to stop the incarceration of non-violent offenders?


“The government wanted to send a clear message that if you want to cover a group they don’t agree with, and you’re not complicit with them [the government], they will target you,” Keys told me after the trial.

No, no, no. The gentleman is not charged with “covering” Anonymous. He is charged with handing them the keys to the server. I wouldn’t know if that warrants two years, but his attempt at misdirection is pretty lame.

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Damn. The meme is right. Internets IS serious business!

Is the owner of the LA Times golfing buddies with the judge or something?

What harm are you thinking about? Articles by I. P. Freelie?


Yes, we take fired guys’ old CMS keys very very seriously. Eventually, maybe in court where we are invulnerable to shame unless selling the paper whole. Also unicorns. And the sanctity of our wild parking lot USB-types of Pokemon, which we understand are different from electric-types.

Also Keys isn’t the affluenza driver, about whom the harm comment and provenance of evidence make sense. Pretty sure.

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According to the Code of Hammurabi, yes.


Dunno. Merchant-bankers already seem pretty exempt.


I’m less interested in violent vs non-violent than I am with “does this cause serious permanent harm to another person’s life?”. Those are the only crimes I would imprison for.

Bankrupting thousands of families through corruption and fraud is certainly amongst the imprisonable crimes by that standard.


If you want to break the law, be a cop or a corp


Horrible sentence. Here’s another horrible part: you state that the afluenza kid " murdered" people when comparing the instant sentence to that of the affluenza kid’s.

I am extremely disappointed in you for stooping to such hyperbole and, ultimately, falsehoods.

Afluenza kid did not murder anyone. He unintentionally caused their deaths while drunk driving as a minor. That is called manslaughter. The sentence he got for that was 10 years probation, not the two years incarceration. He got 2 years for violating probation.

These distinctions are important for several reasons. First, if you want us to trust you, then as a reporter you need to deal in facts. If you are wrong on these facts, what else in your story is wrong? Second, if we are to win the war against unreasonable cybercrime laws, we need to take the moral high ground. Your false statements are more like something I would see on a Facebook page of a Fox News fan talking about something Obama did than something I would expect from you. Finally, murder is materially and morally different than manslaughter. You chose to use the word “murder” either because you are ignorant of the moral and definitional differences, or because you wanted to enrage your audience that much more. Either way, I trust you a little less now.

Don’t take the easy path. Do it right. There are millions of examples you could have used and still made your point without crossing a moral line. I remain a fan, though slightly less of one.


I’ll highlight the critical difference here:

Matthew Keys, unemployed journalist with no inherited wealth.

Ethan Anthony Couch, child molesting child of wealth and privilege.

The double standard of “justice” for rich and poor is the massive base on which both structural racism and regulatory corruption fatly rest. The wealthy can literally get away with murder (although as @Grahamers20021 points out, in Couch’s case it was multiple manslaughter) and the cops viciously prey on the poor and anybody who superficially resembles the poor.


What harm are you thinking about?

Defacement of a web page.

All this means is that affluenza kid was underpunished, not that Keys was overpunished. What Keys did (probably out of anger) was potentially very dangerous. He opened up the system to a very large number of unknown people to do with as they wished. Who knows how the system is configured, and whether or not you could search out someone whose password for the CMS is the same as it is for the financial management system?

You can argue over Keys punishment but it is at least in the ballpark of right. That is not true for the affluenza kid, but you can’t change the judgment of a jury. He got off, just like OJ. That was wrong, but does not excuse an unrelated criminal.

I know, right? This is when a fine and several years probation would have been much more cost effective.

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I normally try to refrain from posting until I’ve both had my morning caffeine and have walked away for a bit, but…

Have you ever lost a loved one to “manslaughter”? If you have, you know as well as I that they were murdered. If you drink and then get in a car, you have no excuse when something bad happens because everyone knows what happens when one goes drinkdriving – bad things, this is current year after all. It is no defense if you claim to be too rich to comprehend that personal actions have personal consequences.

An action that results in the death of another person is inherently worse than an act that results in the change of a few innocuous characters on a computer for a brief amount of time – characters that cannot be mistaken for actual news vs taking the lives of FOUR PEOPLE?!? Only in late stage capitalism could the punishment for those two actions be the same.

Hacking is/was “the great equalizer” on the intertubes, where the disenfranchised could wield just as much power as a nation state (up until about 1997) and can still wield about as much power as any corporation. No wonder the book is thrown at them whenever they’re caught! If they can’t be caught? Just get close enough and punish them as an example.

The real blame for the LA Times defacement lies with the InfoSec team @ the LA Times for not changing out the credential pair for a former employee (left in 2010) and yet were still active (in 2011) – likely any “employment agreement” that would have had him keep that information secret had long since expired. But NO, when corporations fsk up, it’s not their fault, it’s always someone else’s – just like the rich.

Keys still denies all allegations. Why not believe him?

Don’t forget, the Judge who sentenced the “affluenza teen”, when speaking to the press about the two year sentence noted: FTA Defense attorneys asked the judge Wednesday for a lesser jail sentence. “Nothing I do is in stone, so I might reconsider,” Salvant said. The case reconvenes in two weeks.


I’m not quite following you… someone at the hacked organization did not invalidate Matthew Keys’ passwords (as is required by law, if you’re subject to any IT regulation at all) and you’re saying the damage isn’t assignable to the people who actually did it, nor to the people who actually permitted it, but instead to the least culpable person? It’s somehow reasonable to punish the least guilty party the most?

When you break up with your girlfriend, and she throws your keys in the canal, is she more guilty than the robbers when somebody fishes them out and robs you? And shouldn’t you take at least some small amount of the blame yourself for not changing the locks, when you’ve always told everyone that you are on top of your home security?

I get what you’re saying about the difference between this and getting away with killing people because you’re rich, though.