Sunday, October 29, 2006

A bit of good news

Markey announced his change of heart Sunday morning in a press release:

On Friday I urged the Bush Administration to ‘apprehend’ and shut down whoever had created a new website that enabled persons without a plane ticket to easily fake a boarding pass and use it to clear security, gain access to the boarding area and potentially to the cabin of a passenger plane. Subsequently I learned that the person responsible was a student at Indiana University, Christopher Soghoian, who intended no harm but, rather, intended to provide a public service by warning that this long-standing loophole could be easily exploited. The website has now apparently been shut down.

Under the circumstances, any legal consequences for this student must take into account his intent to perform a public service, to publicize a problem as a way of getting it fixed. He picked a lousy way of doing it, but he should not go to jail for his bad judgment. Better yet, the Department of Homeland Security should put him to work showing public officials how easily our security can be compromised.

It remains a fact that fake boarding passes can be easily created and the integration of terrorist watch lists with boarding security is still woefully inadequate. The best outcome of Mr. Soghoian’s ill-considered demonstration would be for the Department of Homeland Security to close these loopholes immediately.


More here

37 comments:

GMIJackso said...

Good to see that some of the wrong that was done to you may be made right. I fear that it will take much more work and time for everything to calm down for you. The "retraction" of the call for arrest isn't going to actually stop the legal process that is or isn't already rolling. I use legal in the weakest definition possible.
Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

contact ACLU?

Anonymous said...

I certainly sympathize with you. I am a grad student in security as well. However in your studies you certainly should have realized what a bad idea it is to put this on the web. There are lists and places for such information.

You clearly are an intelligent person. i hope you excercise better judgement in the future.

Anonymous said...

¡Te saludo y te mando una felicitación desde México!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe one of the comments in a previous post - something about a "tanks and planes" approach from the Clinton administration. Kinda sad that the person has no real view of the current administration - but yet is a blindfolded flag waver.

I believe the ACLU would be a good step as well. Sounds like you're 1/2 as dangerous as the "Miami 6" or whatever they were - and they weren't anywhere near capable of pulling off the stunt they talked about. All you were doing was exposing a vulnerability.

Our security in this country is way too reactive. It is nowhere near proactive enough. Our rights need to be protected, but we also need to act against those that want to do us harm.

Adam said...

Good to see Markey's brain finally kicked in. Modeled off your NWA generator, I made a gold star generator. I suggest sending one to Edward Markey: Gold Star Generator

Anonymous said...

gotta love politicians

stick your head in the sand...

if the public doesn't know about the loophole then it doesn't exist.

it's reminiscent of the cold war days... hide under a table or a blanket.. that'll protect you from a NUCLEAR WEAPON. Hell, the US should just have covered the Pentagon, white house, the capitol, all the warships and aircraft in blankets to protect them from nuclear weapons.

Psycho Penguin said...

Nice apology. Hopefully the FBI will give you your stuff back and the legal process isn't too long, painful or costly.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't this asshold Markey spend his time instead working on a security system that stands up to public scrutiny. Good God I hope nobody votes for this moron.

Peter Stinson said...

I'm absolutely amazed.... I can't remember the last time a politician recanted like this.

Pigs will soon fly... Keep the faith.

Anonymous said...

i'm glad to see things are turning around [somewhat] for you. obviously Markey has realized the folley in calling for the arrest of someone such as yourself. in instances such as these, the best defense you have is public awareness-- the more people who are aware of your situation, the better things will be for you. Markey is aware of this fact, and was quick to get "out in front" of the issue before it hits the mainstream press this coming week. My suggestion to you is to pursue speaking with the EFF and ACLU, as not only can they help you with your legal matters, but they have the publicity muscle to get your story in front of mainstream reporters. As soon as Maher / Daily Show / Colbert and some of other outlets (AP, etc) pick up on this, I imagine your problems will lessen considerably-- their jokes about the incompetence of the administration will have a lot less ammunition behind them if only your equipment was seized (rather than, say, if you were charged with a federal crime); this fact will ensure you won't be charged with anything. Getting your equipment back may not be so simple. Good luck.

Anidel said...

Hey man, I am glad everything if fine now (still you didn't get your stuff back yet, hope they'll do it soon).

They should not only apologize but even refund you for what you've been thru (just for trying to help!).

Anyway.. good news to know you are still free :)

See you soon.

Aniello

Seth Thomas Rasmussen said...

Very refreshing and good news. Glad to hear it.

Anonymous said...

This website boarding pass generator did not expose anything new. This possibility has been known about for years now. But what does it matter that it's gotten more attention? It has no impact on real security matters since, fake boarding pass or not, a person going through the security checkpoint is going to be screened. If they are screened properly it becomes self-evident to all but ignorant nitwits that ID and boarding pass checks of passengers are not required to provide security.

Anonymous said...

Security at U.S. airports has long been a farce designed to assuage the public - theatre really. Checking a boarding pass against an ID does nothing - the 9/11 hijackers all had perfectly valid state-issued IDs. And anyone can get a perfectly valid ticket at www.nwa.com. The fact of the matter is real security would be achieved by properly scanning checked and carried on-baggage. However, 5 years after 9/11 most checked luggage is still not properly scanned!

Incidentally, having traveled to Asia many times I can tell you from first hand experience you can pick up your tickets, go through security and board your plane in Japan without EVER showing ID - not a single time. Why? Because they throughly scan your bags and yourself - and it isn't done by a high school drop-out earning $7/hour.

You've committed no crime. If I were you, I'd keep my head on straight and see the positive side of this situation. You're going to have an opportunity to file a lawsuit against the government for violating your rights and collect "mucho dinero". I'd start filing the names of all the government officials you talk to (starting with the FBI) and use that to later sue them (personally and the government as their employer). Its worked before for other people.

Anonymous said...

Under the circumstances, any legal consequences for this student must take into account his intent to perform a public service, to publicize a problem as a way of getting it fixed. He picked a lousy way of doing it, but he should not go to jail for his bad judgment.
They must also take into account the fucking FIRST AMENDMENT, the fact that you BROKE NO LAWS (at least not any legitimate ones), etc. etc.

I also hope that by "lousy" he means "brilliant," "hilarious," etc.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you've exposed anything new, but the idea that you are somehow young and naive and "didn't know" how people would react as they have, is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Next time do it anonymously.

Anonymous said...

I'm not buying it. Politicians don't spontaniously issue public apologies to someone who isn't a threat to their power. Dig deeper and find out what the real story is here.

Anonymous said...

hey, this may not make you fell any better, but there have been other misunderstandings with the goverment that probably were worse than what you're going through right now.
Check out http://www.thislife.org/pages/descriptions/05/288.html
play the story- the one you want to hear starts at 4:45 into the audio.

Dahknes said...

You forgot that under GW, nothing is anonymous anymore.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, "I'm not buying it. Politicians don't spontaniously issue public apologies to someone who isn't a threat to their power. Dig deeper and find out what the real story is here."

It probably had a lot to do with the hundreds of people (like myself) who called or emailed his office explaining why he was being an idiot in calling for Chris's arrest.

Maltrich the Crazed, L.D.D. said...

I'm confused as to how this could be considered bad judgment. The airlines and government already knew about this and were doing nothing about it; going the publicity route was the only way to guarantee a response. If it turns out the way I expect it to (with Chris going uncharged and the government/airports acknowledging to some degree the problems with current security measures) then it seems like it was an excellent move.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not buying it. Politicians don't spontaniously issue public apologies to someone who isn't a threat to their power. Dig deeper and find out what the real story is here."

On Flyertalk people were talking the talk and walking the walk to help Rep. Markey understand the situation. At least he listened.

strat said...

It will be interesting to see where EFF participates in all of this. Rep. Markey has been very friendly to EFF through the years, and in the course of quite a bit of legislative maneuvering.

The typical Washington response would be to hang back, lest they alienate one of their key contacts in Congress.

Obviously, I hope for better results than that. Time will tell.

themonkman said...

Keep your head up, bro. These fascist tactics against you won't hold up. Also, I'm quite sure that after this is all over, your fame will carry you onto new opportunities that would not have been possible without this.

Sent you $10 to help you on your way. Keep us posted on whatever details you can.

Anonymous said...

I still can't believe that they raided your house during the night. If that was me and I was home I would have blown at least one of those pigs away with a 12-gauge to the face - you don't go barging into a mans home during the night!

But then, maybe that's what they were hoping would happen so they'd have an excuse to bury you.

tom said...

Dude , the U.S Government in its varied forms goes barging into peoples homes all the time - its just that usually those people are not white and do not have blogs with considerable readership.

Anonymous said...

Now, if you start charging the government large sums of money as a security consultant with a significant kick back to your government backers and reduce your overall effectiveness, then you'll fit in quite nicely among the so-called security consultants that came before you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree, not a good way to perform "public service"! In case you didn’t notice, the professional, Schneier, didn’t make the mistake of poor judgment BUT the "college student" did. No to the ACLU and just don’t be stupid next time.

Gandalf said...

Great job!

If you do sue them, get the ACLU to help.

And subpoena the Justice Department to explain why it picked on you while leaving untouched the people who blew the NSA and SWIFT programs.

John Utter said...

Anyone notice that "Markey" is pretty close to malarky?

Glad to see there is smart and defiant folks in Indiana. You are not dumb for posting the php script. What was dumb was the pathetic and cowardly reaction from our "public leadership".

I'm a Boilermaker, and graduated in Dec 2001 -- just after the attacks. On nights that September, hillbilly frat boys would run by our apartments near campus yelling "kill ragheads!" My next door neighbors were from India, and were very scared to go to class and grocery shopping because of the way they looked. They were some of the nicest folk I've ever met. I normally lived in a computer lab (as I'm sure you do); but I spent a lot of time at home, and at their place that month.

I have a friend at FBI-Chicago who is smart. I'll send him an email to see if he can help, if he is not already aware of this.

Anonymous said...

On Friday I urged the Bush Administration to ‘apprehend’ and shut down whoever ... Subsequently I learned that the person responsible ... intended no harm but, rather, intended to provide a public service ...

In other words, "shoot first and ask questions later". I'm sickened to have Markey as my congressman - he runs unopposed, but I at least blanked him on my absentee ballot...

Anonymous said...

How about arresting the senator for slander and harrassment as he attacked you without having all of the facts. Seems to me he abused his position of power in a gross way that should have any U.S. Citizen shocked.

I call for the immediate resignation of this senator.

Drew said...

It's a good thing the imperial senator didn't just up and demand for your head on a platter. That would have made it a lot harder for him to back peddle.

Matt said...

Good for you for providing some good to this pathetic government. If they're stupid and can't focus, forget them!
Why do GOOD PEOPLE need to be deemed BAD?

A. B. Dada said...

For the ACLU -- an organization that sides with the State as often as it does not. It caters to the growth of government by accepting compromise.

What you should really do is go get the Institute for Justice, www.ij.org, to help with your case. The IJ is anti-State and works to win cases up to the Supreme Court for all personal property violations -- including defending your right to free speech that Congress can MAKE NO LAW in compromising.

This is the State at its finest -- harming citizens instead of protecting them.

Better believe that the Feds are subscribe to the RSS feed here. Don't be shocked if they could care less about the oath they took to uphold the Constitution.

While I am against the use of law for any reason, I do support the use of law against anyone who is part of that law. The Congressman who called for violence against you should be tried on inciting violence (the ransacking of your property and your inherent right to free speech violated).

What is the penalty for treason in this country? I think that penalty should be found in a court of law against the lawman who supported violating your rights.