Reuters Fires Employee Who Allegedly Helped Anonymous Hack Tribune Co.

7:49 PM PST 04/22/2013 by THR Staff
Matthew Keys' Twitter page

Matthew Keys, who was suspended after his indictment, writes that "it's unclear if my firing had anything to do with it."

Thomson Reuters has fired the deputy social media editor who was indicted on charges of aiding members of the Anonymous hacking collective.

Matthew Keys said Monday in a message on Twitter and in a Tumblr post that he was "terminated" earlier that morning. Thomson Reuters spokesman David Girardin confirmed to Reuters that Keys was no longer with the company but declined further comment.

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Keys wrote that his coverage of last week's Boston Marathon bombing -- which included tweeting information from police scanners that ended up being inaccurate -- was one of the reasons he was let go. He also claimed that Reuters took issue with his identifying himself as a Reuters journalist on his Twitter feed, despite that being company policy.

"A Reuters manager said it was troublesome that several people associated my work on Twitter with the company, pointing to my Twitter bio that said I was a Reuters journalist," he wrote.

He also posted a copy of a warning he received from the company last year in which he had created a parody Twitter account spoofing Google CEO Larry Page.

Keys added that he plans to contest his firing with the help of the Newspaper Guild of New York, the union that represents Reuters journalists.

In March, Keys was indicted on three hacking-related felony counts for allegedly helping the hacking group Anonymous gain access to his former employer, the Tribune Co.

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The Justice Department charged that in December 2010, Keys posted a username and password on an online forum frequented by the group he claimed would give its user access to content management systems used by the Los Angeles Times and the Tribune-owned Fox affiliate KTXL-TV Sacramento, from which he had recently been terminated.

Keys allegedly instructed the hackers to "go f--- some shit up” when he posted the information under the username AESCracked. One hacker said he changed a Times story using the login information Keys allegedly had given him. Keys later wrote on the message board he had been “locked out for good” as his account had been shut off, according to the indictment.

Keys faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. His arraignment is set for Tuesday in Sacramento.

The alleged events occurred before he joined Reuters, but he was suspended after the indictment. His security access was reportedly revoked at the time.

Keys has said he's innocent.

"While my suspension was related to the indictment, it's unclear if my firing had anything to do with it," Keys wrote in his post. "The company mentioned the suspension several times, but they did not mention the case nor did they mention the indictment. Still, one has to wonder if they are connected."

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