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Reuters' Matthew Keys Accused of Anonymous Conspiracy 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-dirty dept.
B3ryllium writes "Matthew Keys, a Reuters social media editor, is accused of deliberately encouraging Anonymous to hack his previous employer, and even gave them access credentials to do it. An indictment appears to recommend charges that could result in up to 30 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. From the article: 'He is alleged to have identified himself on an internet chat forum as a former Tribune Company employee and then provided members of Anonymous with the login and password to the Tribune Company server. The indictment alleges that Mr Keys had a conversation with the hacker who claimed credit for the defacement of the Los Angeles Times website. The hacker allegedly told him that Tribune Company system administrators had locked him out. Mr Keys allegedly tried to regain access for the hacker, and when he learned that the hacker had made changes to a page, Mr Keys is said to have responded: "Nice."'"
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Reuters' Matthew Keys Accused of Anonymous Conspiracy

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  • by lxs (131946) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:08AM (#43181207)

    Sigh.

    • by 2.7182 (819680) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:09AM (#43181215)
      Like Madoff. How do you feel about his sentence?
      • by lxs (131946)

        Too high as well, even though he did have a far more serious impact on many peoples' lives.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:22AM (#43181289)

        Like Madoff. How do you feel about his sentence?

        I know right! The nerve of some people to suggest that thousands of people's lives and retirement WEREN'T ruined by defacing that website.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Not ruined enough for such a high sentence. Tough On Crime is a retarded attitude to have.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          About the only reason I can think for most Slashdotters wanting Anonymous and their ilk to be treated like third graders who accidentally said "poop", is that they too hope to one day break and enter into a computer system and deface/steal/destroy something and don't want to go to jail for it.

          Keep the fuck out of systems where you don't belong. Even said third grader understands that.

          • Even said third grader knows that 30 years in prison for this is inappropriate. Why does jail automatically have to be the default sentence anyway? People don't realize that probation, with the accompanying lack of driving privileges and curfew, can be enough of a punishment to prevent someone from offending again.

        • by Stan92057 (737634)
          I,m not saying i agree with the "possible sentence" because i don't. But he and anyone else doing stupid stuff like he did, should have checked or even know what the sentence could be if caught. There there to be deterrents not just sentences after the fact. So anyone in this forum now knows the punishment if caught doing what he did. And should avoid doing so. Its not a game anymore.
      • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:24AM (#43181295)
        Like Aaron Schwartz. How do you feel about his?

        Can we just agree that the system is fucked?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Like Madoff. How do you feel about his sentence?

        Of course 150 years is ridiculous for a non-violent crime, but ...

        We're talking $18 Billion. That's a ridiculous amount of money to steal. Ridiculous crime, ridiculous punishment.

        Also, Madoff ate it for his accomplices.

      • by Nyder (754090) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:49AM (#43181471) Journal

        Like Madoff. How do you feel about his sentence?

        I didn't care one way or another really, but i bet he wished he had asked for a bail out before it all went south.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Madoff financially ruined the lives of hundreds of people, and adversely affected a lot more than that. By contrast, Key allegedly gave a bunch of hackers access to a newspaper's web site and they defaced it. Rather different.

        That being said, Madoff is a sleeze for what he did, and so is Keys for the things he allegedly did. It's the potential penalties if convicted that are utterly ridiculous in the latter case.

      • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@caRASPrpanet.net minus berry> on Friday March 15, 2013 @09:52AM (#43181969) Homepage

        Actually I feel it doesn't accomplish much except to further some prosecutors careers. Don't get me wrong, I am glad it was exposed, and some lgood lawyers out there have done some good work trying to fix the mess....

        but the criminal side of things? Meh. Strict penalty...woo hoo. It doesn't actually fix anything. It clearly wasn't a deterrent. Meh.

        I would rather he was sentanced to spend several nights a week in soup kitchens for as long as he is medically able, if you really need to sentance him to something... why give him a forced retirement in a cell? Have him do something useful for society. I mean, its not like anyone is going to trust the guy with investments again, and he certainly isn't a physical danger to anyone.

        • by MightyYar (622222) on Friday March 15, 2013 @10:15AM (#43182119)

          I would rather he was sentanced to spend several nights a week in soup kitchens for as long as he is medically able, if you really need to sentance him to something... why give him a forced retirement in a cell? Have him do something useful for society. I mean, its not like anyone is going to trust the guy with investments again, and he certainly isn't a physical danger to anyone.

          Exactly. Put him to use in society. Why pay for his incarceration? Fines, wage garnishments, community service, supervision, even a short prison stint are all better. The man is a notorious convicted felon and can't possibly be a harm to society through financial scams - all jailing him does is make us feel better.

        • Deterrence is only one part of the role of the law.

          Theres this quaint thought that theres also a retributive side, whereby someone who commits a wrong is punished because they actually deserve it.

          The role of the justice system isnt to provide a source of laborers to "do something useful", its to provide a way of dealing with those who break society's laws.

          • by tnk1 (899206)

            I have to agree here. The idea of justice being dispensed punitively by the state was to sate the desire of families for revenge. If the state is not taking revenge, then families start vendettas. Everyone wins when the punishment, even an over the top one, is being handed out by the judicial system and not by angry people. Madoff may well have gotten a ridiculous sentence, but I would not be surprised if many of the people who lost their retirements became murderous. With not even the pretense of retr

            • by TheCarp (96830)

              I get this but, I think you are forgetting some history here, in that this only justifies the start of the system of doing things this way, it doesn't address the current situation of continuing it, and where we actually have come today, that is.... its one thing to start doing something but, at what point do you reach diminishing returns?

              Look at Charles Ponzi, the person who, while I wont say he invented scemes like this (he got the idea from watching someone else do it), but gave his name to them. A judge

      • Overly broad rules aren't a good idea in the justice system, so it would be a mistake to say ALL non-violent crimes should have very short prison terms. But I dont' think OP was suggesting it be applied for all non-violent crimes.

        In general, non-violent crimes shouldn't have prison time. Some of exceptional scale should, sure, but we lock up way too many people, despite the fact that violence is really low.
      • by crovira (10242)

        Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme, taking investors money and pocketing it instead of investing it. Madoff had NO INTENTION of making good on his promises.

        That's not even close.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:12AM (#43181235)

      You know if he was a disgruntled employee who gave his door pass to some vandals who messed up the lobby he'd be looking at what slap on the wrist + 6months probation?

      Why is the US department of injustice SOOO paranoid about the 10x penalty for anything online vs its offline counter-part.

      Disproportionate and stupid. And they didnt learn anything from the Aaron Schwartz debacle. Well we knew that - the online overcharging is endemic. But really this is a whole new century time to get out of the dark ages and rent a clue eh?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:29AM (#43181335)
        According to Ars Technica, the maximum sentence for the charges he faces is 10 years and $250,000 - and the sentencing guidelines for this instance, with no history is 0 - 6 months. So, as usual, slashdot blows it out of proportion by either making up numbers or quoting others who made up numbers to get a "oh noes, 30 years for handing out a password" headline.
        • by nbauman (624611) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:56AM (#43181523) Homepage Journal

          Can he still get 0-6 months if he goes to trial?

          Or, if he goes to trial, do they throw the book at him and hit him with 10 years?

          That's the problem that people were complaining about with Aaron Swartz, and hackers generally. You can't defend yourself -- even when the judges, the prosecutors and the public don't understand the technology. If you try to explain, you wind up with severe sentences.

          And in order to get 0-6 months, the other thing they want him to do is rat on his co-conspirators. The problem with this is that he was a journalist who has lots of confidential sources. Do they want him to expose his confidential sources?

          Can he still get 0-6 months if he refuses to rat?

          • by tnk1 (899206)

            Sentencing guidelines are for sentencing and sentencing happens after a trial as well as after a plea deal. A Federal judge will ignore those at their professional peril, and honestly, the guidelines are there to make his or her job easier as a judge, and also to keep the jails from overcrowding.

            So, while the judges do have some latitude to sentence criminals in their courts, they would have to explain in some detail why a first time offender is getting hard time.

            • by nbauman (624611)

              Yes, but the prosecutors decide what he gets charged with in the first place. They're the ones who decide whether he's facing 0-6 months or 10 years.

              The main reason for deviating downward from the guidelines is "cooperating with the prosecution." Defendants literally get away with murder and walk free if the prosecutor recommends it.

              • by tnk1 (899206)

                The judges do have latitude to sentence. They certainly do not have to give the max sentence and will generally not do so unless there is a reason to or there is a minimum sentence in the statute. If the prosecutor asks for the max sentence, they will frequently not get it, and it isn't the prosecutor's decision at all. The judge is entirely free by law to sentence to the minimum no matter what the prosecution requests, however, that is where the Federal Sentencing Guidelines come in, because those are g

                • Unfortunately, the guidelines and implementation of them really work against innocent people. A prosecutor who doesn't have much of a case can offer a plea bargain of 6 months probation, but if you fight the charge by going to trial, you might end up with 6 years in prison (no, this isn't an exaggeration). It's a very rational decision to take the probation even when you're innocent because the risk and cost of going to trial is too steep. Now an innocent person is "free" after 6 months, but they have a

        • Read the effing article will you: "...each count is a max of 10 years and $250k"

          That's not blown out of proportion, that's stating the facts.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Read the effing article will you: "...each count is a max of 10 years and $250k"

            That's not blown out of proportion, that's stating the facts.

            Jail sentences are almost always concurrent where there are multiple charges relating to one incident. It's the fine that is assessed by 'each count'. And anyway, stating the maximum possible sentence regardless of whether the maximum relates to the particular circumstances is just sensationalist.

          • by tnk1 (899206)

            First offenders will almost never get the max sentence. Especially not non-violent offenders. Unless of course, they did something absurdly criminal and detrimental to people's lives, like Madoff did, and his sentence was actually an accumulation of dozens of charges worth of jail time. Defacing a website probably caused an admin to get called in the middle of the night and restore from backup or something. A bad night for an SA and their team, but hardly worth sending someone to jail for 10 years or wh

        • by timholman (71886)

          According to Ars Technica, the maximum sentence for the charges he faces is 10 years and $250,000 - and the sentencing guidelines for this instance, with no history is 0 - 6 months. So, as usual, slashdot blows it out of proportion by either making up numbers or quoting others who made up numbers to get a "oh noes, 30 years for handing out a password" headline.

          You're right, he'll probably get probation or a couple of months in prison at worst, which is certainly appropriate for giving total strangers access

      • by kermidge (2221646)

        "....rent a clue...."

        There's no incentive to get one, and there's no need - Hollywood friends, media conglomerates in general, will provide whoever's in office what they need to know as a 'public service' along with campaign contributions. The fear and almost deliberate ignorance and misunderstanding of anything 'cyber' only helps fuel the paranoia of the rulers. What they fear must be squashed, with no recourse to proportionality, rationality, or justice.

        IF Keys did this, it's wrong. Thirty years wrong?

        • He hasnt gotten 30 years though, and I somehow doubt he will serve 30 years; Im really not sure what all the wild hysteria is about.

          • by kermidge (2221646)

            Yeah, I understand that. We may all doubt that if convicted he'd be sentenced to or serve 30 years. In perhaps a too-roundabout way I meant to suggest that the concept of proportionality does not conceive the maximum allowed penalty being wildly out of line with the severity of the offense.

            We've seen this before in other stories; we each may even have examples from our own lives, where the prosecution will threaten large maximum prison terms to essentially coerce plea bargains and subsequent convictions f

          • by emj (15659)

            The hysteria is there because we are talking about 10 or 30 years, things becomes so unclear when you start talking about years instead of days. I'm not sure you would even be placed in jail for a day if you gave someone access to an office building. That makes these kinds of cases ridiculous.

            I believe that in the US people tend to go to prison for a long time, but I think even talking about a prison sentence for this kind of crime is a joke.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You know in California tagging is a potential 3 strikes felony, or was I don't know if the 3 strikes reform bill passed, crack possession was treated much harsher than powdered cocaine possession, manslaughter with a firearm is treated much harsher than manslaughter with an automobile. This idea that somehow computer crimes are treated uniquely harshly is wrong. If you want legal reform that's fine, but look at the whole gamut not just one little slice.

      • He will probably never work again anywhere as a journalist. It's hard to make a living as a journalist, exceptionally hard. 6 months probation and being blackballed, while not as bad as 30 years in prison, can still destroy someones life.

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Sigh.

      I wonder how much time someone would if give if you gave someone your works keys and they went and taped up pictures in the reception area.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        Sigh.

        I wonder how much time someone would if give if you gave someone your works keys and they went and taped up pictures in the reception area.

        damn it.

        Okay, try again.

        I wonder how much time you would get if you gave someone your works keys and they went taping up pictures in the reception area?

        This seems about that same, except it's online.

    • don't add a 3 when it doesn't exist. The only number to exist at the moment is zero. Wait until this gets to court and we see actual evidence before you start believing even a shred of anything being claimed, in about 3 years.

      Right now, this amounts to nothing whatsoever.

    • by nbauman (624611)

      Like Murdoch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_International_phone_hacking_scandal [wikipedia.org]

      Fair is fair. Rupert Murdoch went to jail for hacking. Why shouldn't Aaron Swartz go to jail for hacking?

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday March 15, 2013 @09:10AM (#43181631) Homepage Journal

      30 years for a non violent crime.

      And Jon Corzine is a free man, probably tucking into a brunch of quail eggs and larks' tongues in aspic right about now, a free man with politicians' smooch-marks all over his tuchis.

      There are two justice systems. Two economies. Two political systems.

      History suggests that this does not end well, and probably not until some heads are separated from some bodies.

      • Did you miss the part where the prosecution doesnt actually get to decide whether hes guilty, or what his sentence is? Or that he hasnt received either a verdict or a sentence?

        Im recommending that you get 50 years in prison and a 50 trillion dollar fine. QUICK, someone write a slashdot headline about how unfair it is!

        • by PopeRatzo (965947)

          Did you miss the part where the prosecution doesnt actually get to decide whether hes guilty, or what his sentence is? Or that he hasnt received either a verdict or a sentence?

          Pay attention: He hasn't even been prosecuted. We've got a Justice Department who won't touch anyone powerful.

          We're looking at (according the Yves Smith) about $3 trillion in mortgage securities fraud perpetrated by the banks that caused the economic crash in 2007-8. Nobody's been prosecuted but a couple of little guys. Nobody who

    • Hey, man, they defaced a website. It's not like they just raped and murdered some girl.

    • BIG sigh. and the worst part of it is... this was his "previous employer". Doesn't Reuters have a policy to remove access upon termination of an employee? I'm not saying what he did was right - but the "disgruntled ex-employee" is NOT exactly a new phenomena. So Reuters didn't do due diligence - and this angry unemployed person might go to jail for 30 years. "Do not collect unemployment - Go directly to jail". :(
      • sorry - don't have edit permissions on my post... should have said "Doesn't Tribune Company have a policy to remove access upon termination of an employee?" - and Tribune Company didn't do due diligence... not Reuters.
    • i'll second that sigh with a puff, maybe the , euh, system is out of balance if there's such a thing as consecutive life sentences, or maybe the whole judiciary worldwide in western democracy needs a serious tad of revising, preferably open and crowdsourced, as all government and governmental book-keeping should be
  • Matthew Keys (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mjr167 (2477430) on Friday March 15, 2013 @08:10AM (#43181219)
    Nice name :)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to the Democratic People's Republic of America.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, I can see how it's a moment where someone brazenly and willingly abused the trust of the facilities to which he had access, but when did Matthew Keys exacerbate the situation with his own gargantuan ego and then kill himself due to his inability to emotionally handle a situation he himself created, all due to mental issues he should've been perfectly aware of had he bothered to listen to people who weren't constantly encouraging his actions as a way to vicariously "stick it to the man"?

  • My two cents on the insanely high draconian penalty for this is that we are living in an age where truth has become so malleable than anything which even remotely threatens the apparent integrity of that truth becomes a greater offense than any actual damages committed by that act. In this sense, it is a sort of heresy against the proto-religion of the state and media, where hackers are not unlike astronomers pointing out that the sun does not revolve around the earth. Instead, they are pointing out that
  • Very odd comment (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The guardian article [guardian.co.uk] on this makes an odd comment:

    A Reuters spokeswoman said the company was reviewing the matter but pointed out that the alleged action occured more than a year before Keys joined.

    If that's true how did he obtain the data in the first place, and how does this mesh with claiming to be a former employee? Did he hack the site first, claim to be a former employee, give the data to Anon and then join the company or what? Or is something being miscommunicated here?

  • It doesn't exactly describe how his involvement was discovered from the standpoint of criminal investigation.

    Assume Reuters contacted the authorities. Then, the FBI and the Reuters IT staff were able to find out that Keys's ID was used. What's the next step to discovering this dialogue with the hacker? Were they both so clueless as to communicate via g-mail or something?

    • IRC plants? Taps on the IRC network? Ridiculous levels of deep packet inspection and logging at ISPs? None of these seem beyond what the country does right now.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anonymous = honeypot, if password was given what that has to do with hacking?
    Looks like another big news media attempt to set precedence in controlled environment for future 'similar cases' they are defining punishment guidelines and scare potential bad employees. If hat would be true anonymous it would NEVER come out.

    • However, there are probably individuals within Anonymous who are snitches and if you're dumb enough to hang out with them and give them your dox and real info don't be surprised if when they commit a crime they say you did it. Blackhat hackers are not the kind of people who typically are trustable with information or with secrets. Who is surprised?

  • The United States of America. I would be ashamed if I were a citizen of that country.

    And, the "story" by Sam Biddle? Wow, talk about sensationalism. Live updates on this earth-shattering, breaking news! I am on the edge of my seat.

  • I'm seeing this word used a lot here. "Allegedly", hopefully that means his involvement is still uncertain. As in, he hasn't been pronounced guilty before he's had his chance to prove his innocence.
    • I'm seeing this word used a lot here. "Allegedly", hopefully that means his involvement is still uncertain.

      As in, he hasn't been pronounced guilty before he's had his chance to prove his innocence.

      But, it's the USA. He *has* been pronounced guilty. As can be clearly read at http://gizmodo.com/5990635/reuters-employee-exposed-as-anonymous-agent [gizmodo.com] (with updates... where is the RSS feed?) it's just a matter of time. The verdict has already been reached. And the alleged culprit will get 30 years imprisonment for scribbling all over the book of his kindergarten friend. This is a very serious thing. The only way the breaking news could be more enthralling and nail-biting is if the death penalty was applicabl

      • by jittles (1613415)

        I'm seeing this word used a lot here. "Allegedly", hopefully that means his involvement is still uncertain.

        As in, he hasn't been pronounced guilty before he's had his chance to prove his innocence.

        But, it's the USA. He *has* been pronounced guilty. As can be clearly read at http://gizmodo.com/5990635/reuters-employee-exposed-as-anonymous-agent [gizmodo.com] (with updates... where is the RSS feed?) it's just a matter of time. The verdict has already been reached. And the alleged culprit will get 30 years imprisonment for scribbling all over the book of his kindergarten friend. This is a very serious thing. The only way the breaking news could be more enthralling and nail-biting is if the death penalty was applicable to scribbling. Oh. Wait. 30 years? The death penalty would probably be too humane.

        The media also said Casey Anthony was guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee [wikipedia.org] but I don't recall her being convicted. People can and do act with free will from time to time. Anyway, everyone is saying that this is an insane sentence for a non-violent crime. I hate to break it to you, but there can be worse things than violence (except murder, obviously). I'm not saying that this case is worse than getting your butt kicked at a bar, but we have no idea just how much access that guy gave away. It's possi

        • by jittles (1613415)
          Well let me retract that, its not obvious that HE committed a crime, but that the hacker did. If there is evidence to suggest that he should be tried, then he should go to trial.
    • Also, how is he going to prove his innocence? He shouldn't have to prove his innocence because that is not how things should work. The burden of proof is not on him. It's on the prosecutor. But, the prosecutor has lots of evidence such as easily faked IRC logs, so it's basically an open and shut case.

  • Minefield (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gmuslera (3436)

    30 years. Now that US militarized the internet, any small mistake, or that looked from very far aggresive move will have that kind of punishment, as they see anything related as war crimes. Even falling in a social engineering trick puts you into the enemy of the state category.

    Meanwhile bankers that steal billons or just screw the entire world economy, are too big to jail [rollingstone.com] or just gets even a lot more money from government.

    And it's already to late to change anything of this. Any try to fix the system wil

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      war crimes?

      I think you're confused, they don't investigate war crimes - nor do they treat enemy combatants as prisoners of war.

    • by Stan92057 (737634)
      Hacking into someone else property is not a mistake.
    • by elucido (870205)

      30 years. Now that US militarized the internet, any small mistake, or that looked from very far aggresive move will have that kind of punishment, as they see anything related as war crimes. Even falling in a social engineering trick puts you into the enemy of the state category.

      Meanwhile bankers that steal billons or just screw the entire world economy, are too big to jail [rollingstone.com] or just gets even a lot more money from government.

      And it's already to late to change anything of this. Any try to fix the system will get people 30 years of jail too.

      It's not hard to avoid small mistakes. It's not hard to not incriminate yourself. It's not hard to not get entrapped. If you hang around hackers you will go to jail, period.

  • I know this is somewhat off topic but I'm reminded of when the Hillsborough Baptist Church taunted Anonymous by daring them to hack the church's website. Spokespeople proclaimed that the website was invulnerable to attack because it was 'Protected by God.' If my recollection is correct, Anonymous pwned the website in all of five minutes. This gave me one helluva laugh! If that created an argument for atheism, I've not heard a better one.
  • So how would his knowledge of passwords from when he used to work there be of any use? Do they not immediately change all the passwords he had when he left the company? Did they let him keep his keys to the building as well? The real villain here is the victim's IT department.

    • by B3ryllium (571199)

      It sounds like the username shared was "ngarcia", not his own. So he was sharing an account that he created and remembered the password to, not one that was technically his own. If he did it at all, that is.

      • He created an account with network privileges on his own? So either IT authorized it and failed to close it with his "official" account, or they didn't authorize it but created circumstances where it could happen. Either way, an IT failure.

        An alternate possibility is that he got credentials of a coworker and shared those. IT (and said coworker) being unaware that the account was no longer secure, they wouldn't automatically secure it on Keys' departure. That scenario is a good "don't share your password

    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      The real villain here is the victim's IT department.

      What simple minded crap from someone find any reason not to blame the obvious culprit.

      There is this concept in law called "Mens Rea" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea). Basically it means criminal intent.

      Was there any criminal intent from the people who should have changed his password but did not? Answer: No, they just screwed up.
      Was there any criminal intent from someone who deliberately gave away private information he was trusted with to someone he knew should not have it, especially if he also tol

  • I don't call that hacking, I call it logging in so a server. I do it every day at work, lol. OMG I'm a hacker! OH NOZ!
  • Ya want to play? Then be prepared to pay the penalty.
  • Why would he be so stupid to even get involved in that stuff and not expect to be treated as a terrorist?

  • What matters isn't the maximum penalty under the law, but the federal sentencing guidelines; they limit the maximum he can "face" based on the circumstances.

    CFAA is a bad law because it treats all such cases as felonies, because it inserts the federal justice systems into cases where it doesn't belong, and because it is generally badly written. But don't blame the prosecutors for that, and don't keep writing this nonsense of how many years people supposedly "face".

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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