About Mr. Soghoian, Boing Boing -- which I usually don't read -- has been tracking the situation... Here's a good overview. And here's what they say about the law:
So, if I read this correctly, Mr. Soghoian, by writing and posting the php script, "caused to be made" a "reproduction" of a "identification medium issued under" the law. I guess it comes down to what the purpose was?
Christopher Soghoian's stated intent with the "Boarding Pass Generator" website was to illustrate a well-documented airline security weakness that airlines and government failed to address -- not to commit fraud or help terrorists. IANAL, but people who are lawyers are no doubt examining the laws that may apply to his case, now that he has been visited by FBI agents bearing a search warrant, his computer and other belongings seized.
A number of legal areas may be at issue. Here's one. If I'm reading the current Homeland Security Code of Federal Regulations accurately, it would appear that even scrawling the words "boarding pass" on a cocktail napkin in lipstick and calling it a boarding pass could be cause for an unsolicited late-night visit, though intent is key. This section of federal law addresses the forging of airline tickets or boarding documents -- DHS Code Title 49, Volume 8; October 1, 2004 rev. [Page 302]:TITLE 49--TRANSPORTATIONLink.
CHAPTER XII--TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
PART 1540_CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES--Table of Contents
Subpart B_Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
Sec. 1540.103 Fraud and intentional falsification of records.
No person may make, or cause to be made, any of the following:
(a) Any fraudulent or intentionally false statement in any application for any security program, access medium, or identification medium, or any amendment thereto, under this subchapter.
(b) Any fraudulent or intentionally false entry in any record or report that is kept, made, or used to show compliance with this subchapter, or exercise any privileges under this subchapter.
(c) Any reproduction or alteration, for fraudulent purpose, of any report, record, security program, access medium, or identification medium issued under this subchapter.
I'll stand in the dock with him.