Matthew Keys - How to Help

Matthew Keys, Journalist - How to Help
by Susan Basko, esq.

Update August 3, 2016:  Tomorrow, Matthew Keys is scheduled to check in at the federal Atwater Prison Camp.  We can send him books, letters, and subscribe to magazines for him.  We can put money into his commissary account via Western Union.  Follow the detailed instructions on this and he will have the money in his commissary account within hours to a day.  He has a wish list of books on Amazon.  If he can, he'll be writing some missives for @BoingBoing.  

This is the information and address:

THANK YOU so much to everyone that wrote email letters to President Obama at the White House regarding this unfair situation facing Matthew Keys.  Your kindness is appreciated. 

The Atwater Prison Camp sounds okay.  There are about 120 inmates in a low security camp. The inmates share a cubicle with one other man.  There is an outdoor playing field with a variety of sports and activities.  All the inmates have a job for 6 hours per day, such as groundskeeping, kitchen, housekeeping, etc.  There is no "controlled movement," meaning the inmates walk freely from place to place.  There is a crafts shop.  There are board games and TV rooms.  One man has written that while Atwater Camp, he had a lot of time for running and writing books.  Sometimes there is a salad bar.  Inmates can make phone calls out and have visitors; both of these are available only to those people on the inmate's list.

August, 2016:  Matthew Keys is a journalist, age 29, and he faces immediate imprisonment for allegedly sharing a password to a news website.  A different person used the password to make a few funny changes to the wording on a news story. This prankish funny wording was up on the news website for a half hour.  Matthew was charged with big crimes under the CFAA and convicted and sentenced to 2 years in prison. The case is being appealed, but they say he must report to a federal prison camp this week (first week of August 2016).    He desperately NEEDS your help immediately.  On Twitter: @MatthewKeysLive

Write an email to President Obama on the handy White House contact form.

1. Click to Go to:

2. In the upper right hand corner, click on: CONTACT US

3. Fill out the form.  Use your real name and email address, so they can reply.
    Then write your email and press SEND.


Who would you like to contact? President Obama
(I also sent mine to Vice President and First Lady)

Subject? Scoll Down to: Help With an Agency - JUSTICE DEPARTMENT.

IMPORTANT: Include this info in your email so they know who/what you are talking about:
RE: USA vs Matthew Keys, Eastern District of California, Sacramento, 
D.C. No. 2:13-cr-00082

Feel free to use any of this in your own email.  Be sure to include the info giving Matthew's name, court location, and case number:

RE: USA vs Matthew Keys, Eastern District of California, Sacramento, 
D.C. No. 2:13-cr-00082
(^^ be sure to include the above info so they know who/what you are talking about.)

Dear Mr. President,

Matthew Keys is a young and very excellent journalist who has been breaking important news stories for at least 5 years. An overzealous prosecutor in California colluded with some shady news corporation executives to charge Matthew Keys with big crimes in response to a questionable, very very minor prank that Keys says he was not involved in. Even if he were involved, it is extremely minor and should not have resulted in a felony prosecution. Matthew Keys faces IMMEDIATE imprisonment. We ask you to prevent this.

This young man does not belong in prison. Putting him in prison and even prosecuting him is chilling free speech, chilling freedom of the press, scaring intelligent young people, scaring journalists, and making me/ we/ many of us feel the Dept. of Justice is acting in a vindictive manner. Matthew Keys is a bright, ambitious journalist who belongs covering the breaking news, not being locked into prison to make a prosecutor's conviction quota.

Matthew Keys has worked as:

Former Managing Editor, North America at Grasswire

Former Deputy Social Media Editor at Reuters
Former Online News at KGO-TV
Former Interactive & Mobile Director at Tribune Company
Former Online News Producer at Tribune Company
Former Promotional Intern at CBS Radio

PLEASE HELP!!! -- Susan Basko, esq

Matthew Keys talking about his case.


  1. I don't see anything here that states what he was charged with, the circumstances surrounding the charge, or anything that would allow people to make an informed decision regarding their support of Mr. Keys. Omitting these details will, at best, cost him support, and, at worst, make it look like he's hiding something.

  2. So sorry. I wrote the blog post in a hurry meaning to provide info on how to email the White House for those who already know the story. I am not Matt's lawyer, but I will try to explain and hope I do an adequate job. If one of Matt's lawyers wants to jump in and explain it better, I hope they will.

    As far as I know, Matthew was charged under the CFAA for allegedly giving his password to a news website to someone on an IRC (internet relay chat) and that person made a small deface on the page --- changed some wording to make it funny. The deface was up on the site for about a half hour. Such a thing is very easy to fix, takes a few minutes and costs no money. Instead, the news company had him charged with crimes. To get the charges under the CFAA, there must be a claim that the damage was over $5,000; the FBI agent or prosecutor apparently encouraged the news company executives to falsely trump up the cost. Emails to this effect have been located. Matthew denies these allegations and there is someone else that came forward and wrote to the Judge explaining it was he or she that passed the password and wrote some emails that were also part of the complaint. The person who actually defaced the page is known to the FBI and is in some European nation and has not been charged with any crime. I believe the conviction is being appealed on the basis of Matthew being charged with a defacement as an alleged agent of whoever actually made the defacement.

    All in all, to me, this seems more like a prank than a crime. It seems very overblown to turn it into a felony or to claim there should be hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution. I have a whole bunch of blogs and websites and if one were to be slightly defaced, I think I could fix it in a few minutes. The thing is, the section of the website to which the person had access is one that many people have access to all day long. It is the section where people post their stories.

    While what allegedly happened is certainly not wise or mature, it also does not seem to be a felony crime or something Matthew should go to prison for 2 years over and have his life permanently ruined. That is the point in asking people to write to President Obama.

    1. I want to add that the conviction is being appealed. The appeal has a very good chance of being successful because the CFAA is an antiquated law that is open to too much interpretation, including dangerous interpretations that would put a young man in prison for two years for sharing a password, such as in this case. Even though the appeal is likely to succeed, an appeal could easily take longer than two years, which is the amount of the prison sentence. That is why it is so important to keep Matthew out of prison pending the appeal.


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