FBI raids creator of fake boarding pass generator

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Sunday, November 5, 2006

Christopher Soghoian, 24, a doctoral student in information security at Indiana University, released a boarding pass generator for Northwest Airlines on October 25th. In the release, he stated that it demonstrates flaws in airport security and the no-fly list.

A few days later, on October 27th, Soghoian was visited by the FBI who told him to take down the site. Soghoian complied with the FBI request. However, the FBI then raided his apartment that evening; apparently due to lack of a warrant during the first visit.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) had called for Soghoian to be arrested in October.

Fake boarding passes are quite easy to create in Microsoft Word; assuming you have access to a old boarding pass for comparison. Indeed, Amnesty International has created a similarly passable fake boarding pass for their AirTorture fundraising site.

In February 2005, Senator Charles Schumer noticed this loophole in no-fly list. He urged the TSA to "check every passenger's ID against the passenger's face and his boarding pass and ticket", as has been done immediately after the September 11th attacks. TSA declined to follow the senator's recommendation.

Mirrors of the fake boarding pass generator are available online.

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