Comments: 96 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

gooooooodx36 karma

How do you respond to allegations that you harassed other journalists and threatened to ruin their careers? (https://twitter.com/TaylorLorenz/status/973248903230484480)

How do you respond to the allegation that you blackmailed people with "nude photos"? (http://observer.com/2013/06/social-anxiety-indicted-fired-and-evicted-alleged-hacker-matthew-keys-faces-a-long-road-to-redemption/)

How do you respond to the allegation that you were "obsessed with the Los Angeles radio station KLLC, to the point that the station had to publicly declare [you were] not an employee"? (http://gawker.com/5990880/reuters-social-media-editor-accused-of-helping-anonymous-has-long-strange-internet-past)

How do you respond to allegations that you harassed people who wouldn't date you? (http://gawker.com/5990880/reuters-social-media-editor-accused-of-helping-anonymous-has-long-strange-internet-past)

How do you respond to the allegation that people feared "retaliation" for speaking out about you? (http://observer.com/2013/06/social-anxiety-indicted-fired-and-evicted-alleged-hacker-matthew-keys-faces-a-long-road-to-redemption/)

BrainDps6 karma

Man there's no way he'd answer your hard hitting questions it's easier to just ignore you I'm sure.

matthewkeys2 karma

Hmm I actually did respond to this thread. I’m not sure what happened.

Anyway, will simply repost:

I respond to them like this, and then I move on.

yogowolfy2 karma

What the hell? This is a serious issue about free speech and expression, and all you're here to talk about is this guy's sex life? This is so much bigger than this guy himself. This is something that should have us furious with our government.

matthewkeys1 karma

Trolls gonna troll.

shankee13 karma

Been following your work since the Aurora theater shooting in 2012. Must say that my Twitter feed has been really quite for the last 2 years so I'm certainly glad you're back.

My question: What are your plans for the future? Will you continue with your freelance work in the social media world or do you see yourself working back at a big company like you did before with Reuters?

matthewkeys4 karma

Thanks for the compliment! I’m glad to be back too.

You’ll probably remember how tenacious my social media activity was years ago. I plan on being present, but I don’t plan on throwing myself into it as much as I did before. Being online constantly was good for my audience, but bad for my health. I’m more interested in finding a balance between the two now, and that means unplugging when I can.

I’ve already made a personal policy of not going on social media during the weekends. Obviously, that policy comes with some degree of flexibility depending on what’s happening in the world, but it’s one I’m not going to break often if I can help it.

There’s a lot of people who move fast on social media these days, but instant reaction is not always good when it comes to really understanding what’s going on. Slowing down will be better for me and for my audience. It means delivering better coverage to followers by thinking critically about what’s going on and looking at stories with more depth.

matthewkeys6 karma

This is how I respond, and then I move on.

greeksalad4165 karma

What exactly goes on in an Anonymous chat room? What were the most astonishing things you discovered about the group (besides that only a few people were running the show).


matthewkeys3 karma

Again, I can only speak for what I observed. But what surprised me the most about the room I observed was the relative ease at which the handful of people I watched were able to compromise systems and information.

To be clear, I never actually watched any of the systems being compromised. There wasn’t a way to do this (nobody there was going to turn on a webcam, point it at their computer and say “watch me own this website!”). But there was information posted in the chat room that offered pretty strong circumstantial proof that they were compromising systems, and that was convincing enough for me to report that they were in fact doing it.

The level of skill it took was pretty impressive. Equally impressive was that they made it look so easy. A lot of that was above my head (which is why I used a source who understood that on a much better level than I did).

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matthewkeys2 karma

Thank you bot

StupidAstroDroid4 karma

What are your thoughts on Anonymous and how do you feel about being used as a scapegoat by the group?

matthewkeys4 karma

Based solely on my own observations at the time (from November 2010 to early January 2011), there was a lot being reported on Anonymous that barely scratched the surface of what was going on. People were led to believe that the participants of the group causing the most mayhem were the dozens/hundreds who executed DDoS attacks on websites by downloading and using the LOIC. That was definitely disruptive, but the worst mayhem was caused by a small group of about 30 highly-skilled hackers who congregated in a secret chat room that was designed to be by invitation only and hidden from the public listing on the IRC server.

Using a source, I was able to observe some of what went on in this room. What I observed later became the basis for news stories written by Adrian Chen and Parmy Olson and others. I wrote a story about this for Reuters some years later, but the company has since deleted the story from their website with no apparent explanation why. Hector Monsegur and all of those he unmasked were in that room.

Basically, hundreds got credit for things that a very small handful of people actually did. Maybe there’s more to that story, but that was what I took away based on my observations at that time. I lost interest in the story after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and I moved on.

Can you elaborate on the scapegoat part?

Dutchvik4 karma

What did you learn from your time in prison?

matthewkeys17 karma

There are a lot of people serving out long sentences for crimes that don’t really seem to merit them.

I was incarcerated with a mixture of white collar offenders (bank fraud, tax fraud, mail fraud — a lot of fraud) and drug offenders (mostly non-violent dealers). Most of the drug offenders seemed to be serving our extremely long sentences for relatively minor offenses. Their cases are a testament to how broke our drug laws are, and it is horrifying and offensive to see this administration going down a path that will make things worse.

Don’t get me wrong — there were also people there who deserved what they got. I served time with one man who cheated members of his church out of their money and never expressed remorse for what he did. Those people served as examples of the kind of person I don’t want to be.

The biggest lesson I learned though is that everyone is complicated and is just trying to make it through life.

thesecretsofnothing3 karma

Why would a reporter reporting on reportable things not report the illegal activities they participated in (I've read the trial documents and evidence) then still claim to be an observer and reporter with no integrity to report the illegal activities in the report?

matthewkeys3 karma

I don’t understand your question. Could you rephrase?

ChopsMagee3 karma

You still a journalist now?

Does the industry look down on you considering it was not related to the industry?

matthewkeys5 karma

I am looking for work once again in the industry (and please get in touch if you have any leads). I am researching and publishing on my own until then.

The second part of your question is a bit more complicated. It would be wrong to say it was unrelated, but the full story of what happened still hasn’t come out yet (it will soon). When it does, I think people will realize that a lot of what is out there is factually wrong.

Having said that, only a small portion of the industry was “unsupportive.” There was actually a lot of support from my peers, which I’m thankful for. In the three years between the indictment and the conviction I kept working. I managed to find work, and published on my own (sometimes for free) when I couldn’t find work.

Telling stories of importance is extremely important to me. I still have an audience, and I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility and obligation to continue to serve them as long as I’m able to.

NotAnIntelTroop3 karma

If you spent the last 2 years in prison, how did you make a post to r/whatisthisthing a year ago?


matthewkeys4 karma

I said I was sent to prison for two years. I entered August 4, 2016 and was released February 28th of this year.

I can’t see the specific date on that post, but I do remember posting it a few months before going in. As for why Reddit has generalized timestamps instead of specific ones, I don’t know.

Auxtin2 karma

On desktop if you hover the mouse over the timestamp it gives you the specific date. Looks like your other post was submitted on March 26th, 2016.

matthewkeys2 karma

Sounds about right, thanks!

Digyo3 karma

I read Parmy Olsen's book, "We Are Anonymous".

Before reading it, I had no idea who they were or what had happened.

I think I learned a lot.

How accurate was the info I read?

matthewkeys3 karma

I would only be able to speak on what I observed and honestly I haven’t read Parmy’s book in a while so I don’t remember much of it. If you could point out a few examples I would be happy to elaborate if I can.

AustralianNole3 karma

Do you expect this notable event to help or hurt your job prospects?

matthewkeys7 karma

That is a really good question, and I honestly have no idea! I can tell you that I know the battle will be uphill, and for that reason I plan on working extremely hard for anyone who gives me the chance.

Having gone through the system, I also bring to the table a perspective that few others have. It is one thing to cover the justice system from the sidelines; it’s another thing to be able to write and report from first-hand experience.

AustralianNole1 karma

Best of luck to you, mate

matthewkeys1 karma


ThronesFan1232 karma

What was the worst experience you had whilst in prison?

matthewkeys11 karma

The worst single incident was when a prison guard kicked my partner out of visitation. A few days after the incident, I was told my partner could no longer visit me for the rest of the time I was there. We were finally reunited about two weeks ago after fourteen months of not seeing each other at all.

A few weeks after the incident, the prison froze access to my funds, which left me unable to contact my partner, my friends or my family. This went on for five months before the prison finally released access to my funds.

The worst sustained part about being in prison was the constant harassment for being gay. Just to be clear, I never felt physically threatened (except for one time, which was easy to blow off), but there were a lot of “jokes” at my expense and questions that were completely unreasonable. I was asked more than once if I had been raped and if that’s why I was gay. People asked me if I was worried about my partner being loyal (one person said he was “probably cheating” because “all gay men are promiscuous”). Often I was asked how I “knew” I was gay, and more than one person suggested I “try pussy” to see if it would “convert” me (I tried reversing this logic on them but it never seemed to work that way).

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it except shrug it off. LGBT individuals are not protected citizens at the federal level and I was serving time at a federal prison. For that reason, I also could not challenge the visitation ban imposed on my partner because LGBT partners are not recognized as family members at the federal level. When you are gay in a federal prison you have no protection.

bingoflaps1 karma

The dementors

ExPatriot01 karma

It's been quite a two years. How do you feel about current events? How much did you learn in prison?

matthewkeys5 karma

Watching the world from the margins was an interesting experience. As a reporter, my first instinct was to react, but you can’t really do that there. So I took it all in, as much as I could stomach, and eventually learned to consume less of it. With all the craziness going on, you sort of have to or you’ll go crazy yourself.

There’s a lot going on in the criminal justice/criminal justice reform space that doesn’t even register with most people. That’s understandable — criminals are easy to forget about, and it is often hard to sympathize for them. With very few exceptions, nobody wants to be a criminal. For some, what they did was a knee jerk reaction, but for most it was simply a matter of survival. But they earned their spot with the choices they made.

Still, a lot is going on that will have a detrimental effect on the people we as a society choose to lock up. What people tend to forget is nearly all of those people we lock up will eventually be released. How they are treated while incarcerated will have a huge effect on the kind of person they are when they are released back into society. Most of those who are incarcerated are neglected in one way or another — they aren’t receiving the mental health or physical health treatments they need, or they’re not getting a good education. Almost nobody redesigned adequate transitional services to prepare them for reentry. If you neglect inmates, of course they’re going to relapse when they’re out.

This actually isn’t the fault of the prison system. Guards, wardens and even the BOP seem to agree that more needs to be done. It is on lawmakers and administration officials to make prison and criminal justice reform a priority. It is on voters to hold those with decision power accountable — citizens really do have a lot of influence on the recidivism rate.

nordendorf1 karma

Outside of the things you can purchase, how was the food at your particular facility? Looking at images online, the food can vary from:
* children's cafeteria food
* I wouldn't feed that to my dog
* Not enough calories to survive

matthewkeys1 karma

Prison food isn’t supposed to be gourmet cooking. The food is nutritionally fine. The prison orders enough of it to make sure nobody goes hungry. People complained about the food all the time, but that’s prison for you.

Inmates stealing food from the kitchens and warehouses are largely responsible for nutritional deficiencies as far as meals go. So people do wind up going hungry. There were nights when I did.

helloimdeadinside1 karma

What was prison like?

matthewkeys2 karma

It sucked. The staff were pretty friendly towards me, as were the inmates (except for the constant harassment for being gay) but the institution is an arm of the government, which comes with a level of some inherent dysfunction.

aruffj_1 karma

How do you personally feel with the Trump administration's stance towards media?

How did your prison time change you and the way you think about your job?

matthewkeys2 karma

I want to answer your question first by introducing you to three people:

  • Jason Rezaian is a journalist with the Washington Post who was sentenced to prison by the Iranian government followed a sham trial in 2015 (his imprisonment began in 2014).

  • Nikolai Andrushchenko was a journalist who wrote pieces critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He died in a hospital following an attack that is believed to have been carried out by assailants with ties to the government there.

  • Leobardo Vazquez Atzin, a Mexican journalist who was killed earlier this week in an area known for drug violence. His death was the fourth involving a journalist in Mexico this year. Police and judges are often bribed in the country to look the other way when it comes to cases like this.

When you consider these cases — just three examples of the many that are out there — it’s a bit easier to shrug off the dumb things Trump tweets to distract and hijack the news cycle. I find it laughable when supposedly reputable journalists take it to heart and make out as if they are a victim who needs to be comforted when the president teases them. If you’re going to work in news, you need a thicker skin than that.

Having said that, it is troubling when Trump calls the press the “enemy of the people” and encourages his supporters to commit acts of violence against journalists. This is the rhetoric of a crazed dictator and it has no place in our democracy. Many good journalists have found their courage over the last two years and have committed to shining a light in the dark spaces of this administration.

aruffj_3 karma

Thanks for you elaborate reply.

I do understand and agree with your point that it is rather a very bad joke show from the POTUS, however I personally see a big change in how journalism as a cultural and democratic function is threated which worries me a lot.

Being European we have our own current fair share of anti journalist violence like the case of Daphne Caruana Galizia and more recently death of Ján Kuciak in Slovakia; It feels like the fuel, provided by Trump, makes it worse globally.

matthewkeys1 karma

When you elect a clown, you should expect a circus.

TProphet691 karma

What are the most interesting technological innovations you saw inmates develop? I'm thinking in terms of ad hoc cooking utensils, stingers for boiling water, etc., not weapons.

matthewkeys1 karma

I’m drawing a blank on this one, but that’s probably because we had access to a lot of things that I think people wouldn’t assume would be found at a prison (and probably aren’t at most).

I’m mostly talking about things that were donated to the prison for educational and recreational use via the electronics recycling warehouse where inmates worked. Our microwaves and gym equipment came from there. We also had word processors called “Alphasmarts” that were donated from area schools (they were taken away late last year).

As far as innovation goes, I was more impressed by how inmates fixed things when they would break. For example, we had a washing machie that would making an incredible amount of noise during the spin cycle. The solution to the noise problem was for an inmate to take it apart, stick styrofoam in the machine and put it all back together. Probably voided the warranty, but it worked.

KamehameBoom1 karma

What's your favorite flavor of Gatorade?

matthewkeys1 karma

I prefer H2O.

largehuman561 karma

Other than prison, how has the journalsim industry treated you?

matthewkeys1 karma

Kind of a mixed bag, to be honest.

NotAnIntelTroop1 karma

Wow why the hell does Reddit interpret that as 1 year????? That doesn’t make much sense at all

matthewkeys1 karma

No clue.

agiro10861 karma

Are you a /b/tard?

Do you still have contact with Anonymous?

Would say that Anonymous is all talk nowadays?

matthewkeys1 karma

I don’t know what a /b/tard is. No. And I don’t know.

agiro10861 karma

A /b/tard is the nickname for the people who regularly brows 4chan

matthewkeys2 karma

Oh. Then no. But now I’ve learned something new.

Demderdemden1 karma

If you could go back and do it over again would you still help Anonymous?

matthewkeys6 karma

I’ve never helped anonymous.

Demderdemden1 karma

At least two judges seem pretty convinced you did. Why did this misunderstand the evidence?

matthewkeys3 karma

We would like very much to believe that facts matter in our legal system (courtroom dramas tend to exacerbate this belief). But they don’t. Narratives do. The prosecution had the stronger, more-believable narrative. But they didn’t have the truth.

Demderdemden1 karma

What was their narrative vs the true narrative?

matthewkeys1 karma

Their narrative was pretty well documented. The truth will come out soon, but on the advice of my lawyers now is not the time to talk about it. (I know it probably sucks to be left hanging like this; I will follow up with you in a DM when the full account is published)

mouthyy1 karma

follow me up with a DM as well ! very interested in the truth followed your story for a little while

matthewkeys1 karma


yogowolfy1 karma

How do you suggest we fight for free expression in this day and age? I'm sure you've heard about the law that was just passed that made Craigslist remove their personals section too. I'm sick and tired of all of it, and feel like we HAVE to fight, but anything we do is fruitless.

I know there's a sub, /r/redditagainstcensors, trying to fight, but it all feels too little too late.

matthewkeys1 karma

Nobody can take away your right to vote (in most circumstances). You have to vote for the people who are going to represent your ethics and ideas.

If you don’t like the way the system is run, you have to push for the system to be changed.

Revolutions are messy and people do get hurt. But the people brave enough to fight back are the ones who change things.

PhatKok1 karma

So what measures did you take in terms of arse crime prevention?

matthewkeys1 karma


koolaidistheshit1 karma

What do you plan on doing now?

matthewkeys2 karma

Right now I’m living at a halfway house and will be until the end of April when my sentence is officially completed. After that, I’ll be going home and looking for work in the industry. I also plan on spending a lot of time with my family; we have two years worth of lost time to make up for.

thesecretsofnothing2 karma

I wonder what your agent will think of you using a computer device to access Reddit and do this AMA, because on your public offender list and rules related to your release it specifically states no unauthorized use of such devices. Are you breaking the rules of your supervision right now to do this AMA??

matthewkeys1 karma

Technically, I’m not on supervised release right now. Can you link to my specific “public offender list and rules?” Because I’m not familiar with that document.

thesecretsofnothing2 karma

According to bop.gov that let's you search current people in the Federal Prison system you are still listed under Active Supervision at RRM Sacramento and boilerplate supervision rules for any computer related offense is restriction of computer related devices. I'd check with your agent, whoever there to make sure you aren't currently breaking any rules that would put you back in until your mandatory release date buddy.

taosk8r1 karma

I feel like this sort of ban is reaching almost into the cruel and unusual territory with how important the internet is toward social networking and career building activities, not to mention the restriction against being able to read ebooks or other edicational materials bc you are banned from the net. We need to look at whether its really fair to ban everyone who might have touched a lectronic in connection with their alleged crimes. I mean people in this situation are already most likely broke AF and cant find work just by dint of being an ex con.

matthewkeys2 karma

There are a small number of federal circuit courts (and at least one appellate court) that agrees with your position. In one circuit, for example, the internet restriction condition must be narrowly tailored so that the restriction (usually monitoring) is limited only to the prevention of the same offense.

In other words, let’s say you’ve committed bank fraud. And you facilitated that fraud through chat programs. Your restriction would be limited to monitoring only of chat programs and only insomuch as it relates to financial activities. Your porn browsing history? Your emails with mom and dad? Your vacation photos? All hands off.

Unfortunately, there are still some circuits where a blanket ban or monitoring is still the usual route. I think the only reason why this is has to do with lack of legal challenges as a deficit of good cases that can narrow those conditions. The circuit that covers the entire western seaboard (and thus all of Silicon Valley) is one of those areas where a blanket ban is still possible.

matthewkeys1 karma

Thanks for the concern buddy.

djdunkinflonuts1 karma

how much cake can you eat in a single sitting?

matthewkeys2 karma

That depends on your definition of “cake.”

If we are talking about the baked goods type, when I was fat, quite a bit of cake. Prison slims you down though, and I’m not able to eat as much as I used to (that’s a good thing).

If you are talking about the Urban Dictionary type, well, shame on you.

taosk8r1 karma

If you were a redditor before you went in, do you notice any interesting differences now days? How big do you really think the Russia story is in contrast to the larger corporate dominance over our media and political system?

matthewkeys2 karma

I didn’t really use Reddit before I went in, but I did browse from time to time. I read about some of the changes made around here in response to cyberbullying and harassment and I think those are positive first steps.

I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to political news.

RockyMcNuts1 karma

was prison like Orange Is The New Black?

ever hang with the Rolling Stones or throw a TV out a hotel window?

isn't it kind of uncool to share the password to your employer's computer in a hacker forum?

matthewkeys3 karma

Prison was not like Orange is the New Black. For one, there was a significant deficit of female inmates.

No, I did not hang out with The Rolling Stones (context to this question: my great uncle was the sax player for the band).

It is completely uncool, and that’s why I’ve never done it. As I said earlier, the full story hasn’t come out, but it will soon.

PhatKok0 karma

Did you experience any arse crime whilst in custody?

matthewkeys1 karma


KsigCowboy0 karma

How is this #1 on the frontpage?

matthewkeys5 karma

Slow day? I don’t know.

KsigCowboy1 karma

Looks like it was just a glitch of some sort because it isn't there anymore. Just thought it was odd such a small thread had made it that high.

matthewkeys4 karma