Congressman Comes to Defense of Boarding Pass Hacker
The Washington Post today ran a story I wrote about the 24-year-old Ph.D. student who earned a visit from the FBI after posting on his blog a tool that let anyone generate fake boarding passes.
From the piece: "Christopher Soghoian said he was simply trying to highlight a flaw in the nation's airline security procedures when he put a tool on his Web site letting anyone create fake boarding passes, but federal authorities didn't see it that way.
"FBI agents visited the 24-year-old doctoral candidate's home in Bloomington, Ind., Friday and returned on Saturday to cart off his computers and other equipment. While Soghoian has not been charged with a crime, the incident has stirred a national tempest and renewed concerns about passenger screening procedures."
I had a chance to interview Rep. Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts who had earlier called for Soghoian's arrest. On Sunday, Markey changed his tune, coming to the researcher's defense. He explained his change of heart thusly:
"When I first heard that someone had built a Web site for the purpose of making it easier to create fraudulent boarding passes, I called for his arrest," Markey said. "Later when it was confirmed that the creator was a student interested in publicizing -- not creating -- a security loophole, I immediately put out a new statement, so that my feelings were clear that he should not be arrested or prosecuted."
Markey said Congress might have to act if the TSA doesn't. "I think TSA should close the loophole," he said. "We shouldn't have to wait until a new Congress reconvenes to protect the public if a loophole jeopardizes public safety."
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