Reuters’ deputy social media editor Matthew Keys is facing up to 25 years in prison and a $750,000 fine for helping hacker group Anonymous gain access to websites owned by the American media conglomerate Tribune Company.
Keys was indicted on March 12 for allegedly using the name “AESCracked” in an internet relay chat with Anonymous and providing them names and passwords granting access to administrator accounts for Sacramento’s KTXL Fox 40, a television station owned by the Tribune Company. Anonymous used the passwords to alter a Los Angeles Times (also owned by Tribune Company) story on their website. The company had previously fired the web producer, reported The Huffington Post.
The Department of Justice is charging Keys under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The same law was used to charge Internet activist Aaron Swartz who faced up to 35 years in prison before he took his own life in January. Activists claim that CFAA disproportionately punishes individuals for providing or gaining unauthorized access to computers and servers, reported Global Post.
Some commentators in opposition to the severity of Key’s conviction note that he would have likely faced less severe punishment had he chosen to physically assault his old boss at the Tribune Company, the Global Post also reported.
By Chelsea Stuart.