The FBI visited.
They handed me with a written order to remove the boarding pass generator. By the time we were somewhere with internet access, the website had already been taken down.
I am now safe (and no longer with the FBI).
Still trying to find a lawyer.....
If you want to help, a good start would be to email Congressman Markey - who initially called for my arrest.
Can you post the letter? Is this a signed court order?
What did the order say? Was it an actual court order or just the FBI trying to harass you?
i am sure many of us who are following this (I learned about it through slashdot) would be curious to see what "order" you were handed, if it was signed by a judge, etc.
regarding a lawyer, the EFF may be the best people to ask (if they aren't interested in helping you, i am sure they will know someone who would be). http://www.eff.org/
A written order...
Issued by a judge?
Did it have a Home Land Security seal on it?
Did they let you keep it?
Inquiring minds would like to know.
Can you post an image of the order the FBI gave you?
Good morning Finnish time - I'm one Miikka from Finland. I found your posting quite funny, as if you equated being safe with being away from FBI, what would in Finland amount to SuojeluPoliisi, SUPO. If I ever had to say that I feel safe being away from that one particular unit of Finnish police force, I would really feel being away from the central core of free state. Just drunken rambling, but I feel sorry for you and all the other people who are persecuted for these kinds of things. Big country, big problems, I suppose.
Go get a lawyer man, we are with you!
Also, you might consider in the future to get an mp3 player capable of recording the encounter so you can use it in your defense.
I carry a small mp3 recording device at all times and also a small card camera in my wallet. Record with both devices, if they confiscate one, they will not suspect the other.
Wow, interesting read so far.
Good luck with it all :)
Chris, I just sent you an email, but I would highly recommend contacting the ACLU, they were VERY helpful in defending me earlier this year against a cease-and-desist letter: A Response to Liberty.
And I agree with Serge, definitely post the FBI order (scanned and HTML), for future reference, public scrutiny.
If you criminalize fake boarding pass generators, only criminals will have fake boarding pass generators.
Can you write a php script to make FBI written orders asking people to take down websites?
Good luck man...
Once again the FBI prefer arrest than admit there are holes in their security.
This may be obvious and useless, but have you been in touch with the EFF? It sounds like a case they'd love.
You should come into the Ph.D. office a little more often, Chris. Bring your scrapbook so I can see the path to your current life's work (or 20-to-life's work, depending on who you talk to).
I may have a local lawyer for you ...
Markey's my rep; I sent him an email telling him to stop arresting people for agreeing with him! We'll see if anything comes of it other than autogenerated responses.
Best of luck...
What's the deal with this mysterious "order" you won't provide any details about? Why get all cagey with your suppporters?
If, in fact, there is no order and you just got scared and took the site down, there's no shame in that. But the sooner you admit to having invented the "order", the better for your reputation.
I contacted him:
I am contacting you regarding your call to the FBI regarding the arrest of Christopher Soghoian.
I think this action was really despicable, in the context of a free society.
While I might have expected this from a Republican, I think your action is really hurting the Democrat cause, especially so near the elections. From now, I will think twice before voting a Democrat.
Utterly amazing. I really hope you find a good lawyer soon. I'm also curious about the "court order." Good luck.
Hey, man... how are things on Saturday?
I have to agree with several commenters on this post (and the first three on your legal defense fund post can go pound salt).
Do contact the ACLU and EFF.
Do post a pdf of the order you received. Do post a copy of the agents' business card. Do be as transparent as possible about this issue.
Do pass on the php script as an intellectual exercise to other people who are interested.
Do stop into your office more frequently. ;-)
Do continue your posts and be as forthcoming as humanly possible. Remember transparency is the friend of democracy.
Do compile a list of internet colleagues who are willing to keep the word out and help you in any way possible.
Do record all conversations with law enforcement, and do remember that you don't have to say anything, ever.
And do get yourself an attorney.
And, do remember that federal law enforcement agents like to scare people... I know... from both sides of the fence...
Your are a grad student but not a smart one. Even an idiot would have known better than to do what you did. Also you can't upgrade yourself to business with a fake boarding pass. What you may get is first class pass to a Federal Prison. It's hard to feel sorry for someone who acted so carelessly and was smug about it. Donations for stupidity. hmm no I don't think so. Learn your lesson the hard way.
Anonymous@9:14PM : About a concealed mp3 recorder, that may not be a good idea. Some states make it a crime to record conversations unless all parties are aware of the recording. California is one such state. I don't know about Indiana.
Huh.. well according to federal law, it's not illegal to forge a boarding pass (not yet anyway, the bill is on it's way through congress right now)
It's really funny, because Charles Schumer (NY Senator) has an article outlining the entire process of using a fake boarding pass to bypass security on HIS website ( http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/pressroom/record.cfm?id=259517&& )
I wonder why his page wasn't pulled?
This just goes to show common sense is not so common. I don't know where you head was on this one. Sure, in a free country you're free to be stupid, but don't cry about it when it comes back to bite you.
There might not be a law specifically against making boarding passes, but other laws can come into play. For example, if you try to use it or upgrade yourself with it, that is theft. For your sake I hope you dont use that as a defense. That would be like that Azzam kid from SoCal saying "hey, it's not illegal to talk on tv".
I forgot to mention, you really should lay off the drama here about feeling safe away from the FBI. It doesn't help your case. I don't understand this weird, sick fantasy people have about trying to make it like they're being held by the KGB for spying in cold war Russia.
In California according to the site "Can We Tape" (http://www.rcfp.org/taping/), you can record a face to face meeting as long as one of the persons recording is a party to the conversation. Telephone conversations can not be used in a court of law without the concent and knowlege of both parties that the conversation is being recorded.
Get a recorder and record all your encounters with the FBI so you can later defend yourself.
What was the purpose of all this mess. to print fake ticket no much of brain needed some kind of weird show off. look how cool I am.. I am famous now... bullshit :)
Don't know if you remember me from JMU. I'm Steve and Lillian's friend, Jeff. I lived with them at 655 Kyle.
I'm in law school right now, and if it is okay with you, I'm going to make some inquiries on your behalf.
What did you expect would happen!? There's a difference between putting people's computers at risk of a virus by posting a vulnerability and putting people's lives at risk on airplanes by creating a tool terrorists could use!
Absolutely amazing.. I thought about this very interesting thing two weeks ago when I printed my boarding pass on NWA.. Copy, paste into Word processor and recreate it would be just as simple. Photoshop.. Once the end user can print it from home there are numerous ways to duplicate and fake it. Your website was a great proof of concept, quite harmless. The FBI completely over reacted. Again, government doesn't think with common sense, only in absolutes. Instead of going after NWA for having lousy security on their boarding passes, they go after you.
"Also you can't upgrade yourself to business with a fake boarding pass."
By Anonymous, at 1:00 PM
"There might not be a law specifically against making boarding passes, but other laws can come into play. For example, if you try to use it or upgrade yourself with it, that is theft."
By Anonymous, at 1:30 AM
Hey, you two! Why are you guys describing something that is illegal to do? That is a very, very stupid thing to do, according to yourselves.
>> I forgot to mention, you really should lay off the drama here about feeling safe away from the FBI. It doesn't help your case.
>> By Anonymous, at 1:34 AM
I hope government agents break into your house and interrogate you for hours some day. It's not fun.
This is what political policing looks like. Breaking into the house of people who are not a terrorist threat, to "make a point."
Stupid is not the issue. Abuse of government authority is the issue.
Fuck FBI All the US Bitches... :D
Anonymous, anonymous, anonymous.. you naysayers could at least throw up a pseudonym.
This guy shouldn't go to jail, and he shouldn't have had his door busted in. What he did is similar to what is often done in "less tangible" subfields of computer security - proof of concept.
AFAIK, everything he put into the Generator was drawn from already-known information about the boarding passes. Big whoop, so he put it together... He tries to make a point by showing the flaws in this system in a stark, public way.
Would you rather that some terrorist nutjob have cobbled the code together themselves?
Trusting blindly in a security system covering such a life-and-death thing - and quashing attempts to show its flaws in as non-destructive a manner as possible - is a sure ticket to see St. Peter.
What happened to Chris is our future, folks. I can feel the chill from 5 states away.
PS: On the guy who mentioned the concealed MP3 player not being a good idea.. that is very true - state laws vary widely. However, I'd also look into how those laws apply to law enforcement - it may very well be a different legal matter to record government agents, than to record private citizens.
According to Indiana state law, Chris does not have to tell anyone that he is recording their conversation whether it is over telephone, VoIP, or a simple sony minidisc player IF he is in Indiana or if he is calling from Indiana to another state.
In my opinion:
The FBI is nothing more than a criminal organization backed by the government that does nothing but harrass people and claim that they are protecting the lives of everyday citizens. They have such high standards for their recruits and yet they breed insolence, stupidity, laziness, and at best terrible investigators.
Does Ruby Ridge ring a bell? although it has nothing to do with this case, it does in context with the FBI and their shady. Let me fill you in on Ruby Ridge:
white supremacist man wanted to be left alone, yet the FBI came in shot his infant daughter through the head, his 2 boys and his wife. They tried to cover it up and to this day ended up paying the guy they terrorized for weeks, a 6 million dollar settlement.
We should trade the FBI agents with our local and regional sanitary workers. I am willing to bet that they will do a much better job with investigating and maybe have better grasp on ethics.
These comments have been invaluable to me as is this whole site. I thank you for your comment.
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