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02 May 2012, 16:44

Wardriving veteran alleged to be behind Street View data scandal

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Source: Google
The previously unnamed Google engineer who, according to an investigation by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) telecommunications authority, single-handedly made Google's Street View vehicles tap into unprotected Wi-Fi networks has been identified. Quoting a former state investigator involved in the case as its source, The New York Times reports that the engineer was Marius Milner. About ten years ago, he was the developer of one of the most popular wardriving tools, the NetStumbler Wi-Fi network scanner.

According to the newspaper, Milner joined Google in 2003 and worked for the company’s YouTube team until November 2008. Milner apparently wrote the software used by Street View vehicles – which the FCC says, is called "gstumbler" internally – in the 20 per cent time that Google gives its employees to pursue their own projects. The supposed aim of this was to use the collected data for other Google projects.

Between 2007 and 2010, gstumbler collected personal data such as search queries and emails over unprotected Wi-Fi networks. It remains unclear who knew of Milner's plans. The FCC's report says that Milner informed his employer of his intentions in advance. However, the Street View managers deny any knowledge of his plans. According to the FCC, seven Google engineers worked on the Street View software, and one of them is even believed to have reviewed the code line by line.

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