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Please don't think I'd condone the conduct Keys is accused of. Beyond the legal violations, it's a completely unacceptable breach of professional ethics that shows a total contempt for the profession of journalism. Sabotage of other journalists, biased misrepresentation of his relationship with his subjects, creating events he then reported on -- these are violations of the public trust that are worse, in my opinion, than even the monetary damage done.

I want Keys to get a non-biased, regular lawyer because I don't want to see another media hype cycle make the rounds, with Jay Leiderman attempting to convince the masses of his ridiculous DDoS-as-protest theory, which you so clearly pointed out the flaws in.

If Keys is guilty, the best thing for everyone would be if he took a plea deal, served his time or probation, and moved on with his post-journalism-career soul-searching. With Leiderman at the helm, we can be pretty sure of a not-guilty plea and extended, expensive trial with associated hashtags, media blitzes, twibbons & hoopla.

The Food Lion case is indeed interesting to compare with this one. Food Lion was outraged that reporters had infiltrated to expose them. Now, Keys claims he had the same motive for joining Anon chats, but instead of being outraged, their top lawyer volunteers to represent him? If Anon is the Food Lion in this story, why is Leiderman even offering to help Keys, the infiltrator?

It seems like Leiderman's constructing some bizarre Orwellian narrative, where the infiltrator broke in only in order to reveal how secretly glorious the great Party leaders really are, which the oppressive regime media was trying to hide, so he's actually a freedom fighter.

Strange events indeed, and I'm always glad to read your thoughts about them.

Catherine Fitzpatrick

Tweets don't always do justice to thoughts and I'm glad you elaborated yours here.

I realize you aren't condoning his behaviour, and I'm glad you've played up some of the subtleties that no one else has reported on: the violation of journalistic ethics. Instead of examining these and expressing the norms about them, the tech media and the "progressives" that have been techified like The Atlantic rush to find the "free expression" angle and think it needs shoring up.

Everyone needs a lawyer and everyone deserves and gets a lawyer under the law, pro bono if he cannot afford it. In this case, he's got pro bono lawyers eager to serve their cause and the supposedly higher cause of the copyleftists and hacksters.

It seemed to me you were saying, "Poor Matthew Keys, he hasn't really done the big-time crime, and by making much of him, we're distracting from the larger fish that I'd really like to see punished". To which I could only say, "Let's not worry about poor Matthew, he will have a zillion people defending him, let's take the critical approach and let justice be done -- because we do have faith in the system that it will be done."

You may not have that faith in the system of justice, given your own case and everything you have been through. I also have seen many injustices in the justice system, particularly with the stop-and-frisk and the DAT system in New York with its huge conveyor-belt of cases, where you can particularly see race-based justice -- white people with expensive private lawyers go free or get bail and eventually get out, black people can't raise bail, have to use pro-bono lawyers, they end up taking the plea just to move along, and get a record and jail time often. I've seen this in action, and I don't need persuasion of the unfair nature of many aspects of our justice system.

But I've also seen how justice works in Russia or other countries up close, and there are many things for which we have to be grateful and which do more or less work, especially in combination with a free press.

So you're saying here that you don't want to see these particular hucksters use the media circus to disguise their client's likely guilt and try to forge new ground in the law with the DDoS "sit-in" theory. And I agree that's unappetizing and adverse.

But I trust in the system to withstand *even that*. In fact, it has to, if it is to retain its credibility as an independent justice system. In Sacramento, California, I think it will.

I'd be happy to see a not-guilty plea so that everyone can get off their scarifying with 50-year sentences and their endless ranting about the plea-bargaining system in general(because most of them never watch court cases in action, except perhaps on TV, they don't seem to concede that a lot of plea-bargainers are guilty).

And I don't think that in this day and age, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, circus-running lawyers, the frenzied tech media, etc. are going to be able to throw a jury as they could in 1990s in the crackdown on the phreakers -- the crackdown that failed, and set us up for the age of Anonymous and Chinese hackers by weakening the system.

That's because the ordinary people that will wind up on the jury are that much more savvy about the Internet than the juries of the 1990s era.

Back then, you could waive a a few pages of paper about the 911 system and make the jury think it was a nothing, and shouldn't have cost anything, if some other paper like it didn't cost anything, and that the intracies of boards and networks and copying would baffle people.

Now, they will have their own experience of being hacked and losing privacy, more often than not. They will have been harmed, if nowhere else, in a game or on social media by people they thought were their friends. They'll know what an IP address is -- people really aren't that stupid. They'll know because they may have blocked one on their blog or pasted it into their Second Life land menu for a radio station.

They will have thought about the issues of new and old media journalism because they consume it every day, even if it is unlikely they'll be one of the producers, and they will be that public whose trust is violated and they won't like it.

I'm a big believer in the state having to make its case to the random jury, then selected by the voir-dire system. Yes, it means people influenced by the press, but that means they will have read an awful lot about hacking and even the liberal Obama having to issue denunciations of hacking. Unlike the cadre of geeks around EFF and the Google lobby, they are not going to be kind -- they will understand right from wrong. That is my faith and hope. I may be misguided here.

Food Lion isn't exactly a legal precedent, I don't think, because of the technical differences between fraud to gain employment to do an expose, and fraud in the IRC channel -- that is, the case isn't about Anonymous suing this journalist for faking them out in their IRC channel and then setting them up to hack something that they got in trouble for. They aren't the ones suing. That would be a funny case, of course, hackers indignant that they've been hacked.

But still, the philosophical issues are similar for me because it's about this idea that journalists get to suspend the notion of crime as applying to themselves "for the sake of the story," and the system doesn't buy that, and shouldn't buy that, as it is unethical and is fraud.

Instead, the government is bringing a case for a journalist colluding with hackers in hacking. And it's all part of a larger set of cases also involving Sabu, who has not yet been tried yet.

Liederman's narrative is not only Orwellian, in that he is trying to exonerate the glorious lunch-counter like hackers fighting The Man in the media -- oh, that evil monolith of corporate media in which Fox News, of course, is a proper target. Mike Massing in the New York Review of Books wasn't enough to "get them" with his "let's scrutinize them and see if we can come up with a legal case on them" -- so let's "get them" another way, through glorious freedom-fighter hacking. I'm glad you have brought all that up.

But he's also constructing another narrative that we've heard a million times before online in every game or social media or chat group: "My IP is not me".

"I am not the thing I was," they could be crying, as in Shakespeare.

But your IP *is* you, dumbass, that's why Facebook let's you log in without more screens demanding security checks -- try logging in from overseas and you will get how your IP is you, der. To cite one of many examples of how your IP is you.

Duh, we get that it isn't *exactly* you. But when that "you" shows up in Sacramento, and you're in Sacramento, and you don't deny using that handle, and you don't deny doing a story on Anonymous, do you think *that* alibi will stick?!

The lawyers and Matthew Keys in fact aren't thinking it will stick -- although they will likely invoke it on the way, and the feds have noted this in the search warrant precisely as a reason to get the search warrant, if you will.

So they're going to go even bolder "I wuz hacked" -- some other evil person used my account. Or used my name, logging on from somewhere else. Or tampered with the chat logs you see before you, somehow.

Ok, tell me another, kids. No one in the jury will be allowed to look at Matthew's history of assholery. You don't go to jail just for being an asshole online, more's the pity from the perspective of many Plurk Princesses.

So what will happen next? Matthew already told Parmy Olsen that he didn't do it, and now his lawyer says he didn't do it, so they are flying directly into the wind on this one.

And I'm counting on the feds here to have some more pieces of evidence, whether from records from Yahoo or some other place, that will help them make their case. I'm counting on them being smart enough to do that before bringing that case. Many think feds aren't smart and don't even understand how "the Interwebz" work. I don't think that.

Thanks for leaving an explication of your thoughts, it's helpful.

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