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« Matthew Keys Heckling Me On the Internet | Main | Aaron Swartz Was a Hypocrite »

03/28/2013

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Catherine Fitzpatrick

http://asherwolf.net/break-the-news-not-the-professional-code-of-conduct/290/#comment-725
Catherine Fitzpatrick #
March 29, 2013

Please Note: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I see you’re proving my point about “professional social media news content aggregators” in fact being heavy politicized activists who use these jobs to propagandize their political perspectives and turn the masses, who in some cases, as on Twitter, are already groomed by cadre organizations. Under Asher_Wolf, you are a biased, engaged activist on behalf of Occupy, Anonymous, WikiLeaks and other related hard left and “progressive” causes. You think we’re going to believe that in your day job, you suddenly transform into a paragon of neutrality?!

Since you don’t tell us your real name and your real news agency, we can’t tell if you, too, are “acting like an activist”. Chances are, you are, too.

Your issue with ethics here seems to have cropped up only after Keys seems to have exposed your Anonymous pals to Gawker.

But there are many other aspects to this case you have to ask about. He spent two months with Anonymous in their IRC chat room internetfeds. So for two months, he heard about the stealing of credit cars, hacking, harm, destruction — and he didn’t tell any authorities? Isn’t that pretty complicit? He lets us know he’s not like “that snitch Sabu” because he never gave the information to the feds, only to Gawker:

http://3dblogger.typepad.com/wired_state/2013/03/whats-wrong-with-matthew-keys.html

Yet either he did or didn’t help them hack not only the LAT but Fox, and either he did or didn’t make up a thin alibi about this merely to enable him — and Reuters — to live for another day to manipulate the public mind.

The feds aren’t “grossly overreaching”. Keys doesn’t face anything remotely like 25 years. This is the same scare-mongering we saw around Swartz or Weev. Perhaps he could face as many as 4 years like Weev if he displays the same defiance and refusal to show remorse — and therefore seems like someone not deterred, who will go out and do the same thing again. But if Reuters uses their high-powered connections and lawyers to aid him, that won’t happen. The fact that he is on *paid* leave and merely working at home but still performing his media aggregation job lets us know that his employers take a dim view of the feds’ case of their star employee — they are only doing the bare minimum of due diligence just in case a shareholder raises an eyebrow.

And Matthew is certainly talking up his own innocence loudly and even skirmishing with people like me who are critics. That’s why the Atlantic had to wonder why his lawyers let him yap on social media. I also point out that he’s heckling me directly merely because I question his story. I don’t buy it. There are two many discrepancies.

You’ve unfortunately set yourself up for having to make a retraction if young Matthew is able to use his dubious alibi successfully — which is basically “I didn’t do it, I wuz hacked” or “I didn’t really do the things they claim as it was just a feint for the sake of a story”. He seems to be doing a bit of both, and keeping it vague.

The CFAA is fine. It is not a horrible, terrible no-good thing. No one has been sentenced under it for anything remotely like what you say; indeed, most hackers get only a year or two or jail, or they get off using the Asberger’s or mental illness defense, or get probation, or use technicalities, just as the phreakers arrested in the 1990s, as there are very powerful Silicon Valley industrialists that are happy to have them serve as the commandos in their revolution to make the Internet available for their California business model.

Even Aaron Swartz isn’t the hero you claim — his guerilla manifesto lets us know that he was bent on “liberating” the Internet and taking away choice from people who chose to use it for business or nonprofits with walled gardens or pay walls. That’s why none of this is good.
Reply

Andrew

Are you sitting down?

I agree with you, for the most part.

If Keys did give those passwords out (and it does appear that he did) than he deserves to be punished. At the very least, he was a bad employee who deserves to be fired for not safeguarding his employer's accounts. At most he was an active participant. But that's for a court to decide.

Even if he was a freelancer, it's unclear to me (a journalist with plenty of social media cred and experience) what, if any story he was working on that had to do with Anonymous. Even if he was "undercover" and trying to gain their trust for the purpose of reporting, I can't figure out what there was to report that qualifies as news. We know what Anonymous does. That's not news.

But even if he was working on a story, he still let them have those passwords, seemingly out of spite. Unprofessional.

And even if I buy his claim that he was hacked, I still think he's responsible (though maybe not criminally) because if he truly was in those chat rooms and associating with those people for the purpose of reporting on Anonymous, he should have known what they were capable of and taken precautions to protect what needed protecting. Me? I would've used a separate computer for my chatting with them and all my work on that story. I would've used a separate Internet connection and kept that computer off any network that my regular machines with my passwords were on.

At worst, spiteful. At best, careless. Either way, unprofessional and possibly criminal. But again, that's for a jury.

I do have a question, though.

I think you make a fair criticism of Facebook and G+'s block feature that it is too blunt an instrument. But I wonder, who is allowed to block you? Is anyone who works in social media allowed?

Even if I were to agree that as a public figure journalists have different obligations than joe user, is there a point where your attacks become disruptive enough that it makes it hard for them to do their jobs and that other users' experience is degraded? I'm someone who doesn't block people because I'd rather try and win the argument (as you know) but
I can tell you that if anyone was so disruptive that they degraded discussions for everyone else, I'd probably block them.

foakleys

The actor in question is married with a child (I have already crossed Tom Cruise off my long list for the obvious reason.) Apart from keeping the information from his spouse it's likely that one of his main motivations would have been to protect a carefully constructed, wholesome onscreen persona, which would be torn asunder if the truth got out.

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