No sympathy

USA Today reports:

A computer security researcher on his way to give a talk about computer security vulnerabilities at a major conference was told he couldn’t fly on United Airlines Saturday, due to comments he’d made on Twitter.

My first reaction was this seemed over the top.

United made the decision not to allow Roberts to fly on United “because he had made public statements about having manipulated airfare equipment and aircraft systems,” said Rahsaan Johnson, United Airlines spokesman.

“That’s something we just can’t have,” he said.

So what did he say?

Roberts’ troubles began Wednesday when he flew from Denver, where his company is based, to Syracuse, N.Y.

Once onboard, he pondered on Twitter whether he would be able to hack into the flight’s onboard computer settings.

“Find myself on a 737/800, lets see Box-IFE-ICE-SATCOM, ? Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? “PASS OXYGEN ON” Anyone ? :)” his tweet read.

EICAS refers to the plane’s onboard communication system, the “engine-indicating and crew-alerting system.”

He tweeted about interfering with the plane’s systems, while on board the plane. That’s just stupidity, and he gets little sympathy.

EFF, which has taken on his case, said Saturday that United’s refusal to allow him to fly “is both disappointing and confusing. As a member of the security research community, his job is to identify vulnerabilities in networks so that they can be fixed,” EFF’s Andrew Crocker said on the organization’s website.

Yes, but you don’t do that by publicly tweeting about them while on a plane.

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