Posted in War on Privacy

New York Times reveals identity of the technological mastermind behind the Wi-Spy scandal

“Engineer Doe” is no longer anonymous:

At the center of the uproar over a Google project that scooped up personal data from potentially millions of unsuspecting people is the company software engineer who wrote the code.

Google has declined to identify the engineer, as has the Federal Communications Commission. The F.C.C. recently closed its 17-month inquiry into the project, Street View, with a finding that Google broke no laws but had obstructed its investigation.

The agency also said it was unable to resolve all the issues it was considering because the engineer — whom it referred to in its report on the inquiry as Engineer Doe — cited his Fifth Amendment right and declined to talk.

Now a former state investigator involved in another inquiry into Street View has identified Engineer Doe. The former investigator said he was Marius Milner, a programmer with a background in telecommunications who is highly regarded in the field of Wi-Fi networking, essential to the project.

Who is Marius Milner? He is a talented engineer who still works for Google (in the YouTube division) and has been referred to by fellow hackers as a god. He developed a Windows-based utility called NetStumbler, popular with wardrivers, which excels at sniffing out wireless access points, including home routers. (A wardriver is a person who searches for wireless networks as a hobby).

Google has been attempting to shield Milner from public exposure, but now that he has been outed by the New York Times, they will no longer be able to do so. Milner has yet to be hit with litigation for his involvement in the Wi-Spy scandal. Google has contended in court that it spying, made possible in part thanks to Milner, was not unlawful and it should not be punished for invading the privacy of millions of people without their knowledge. We urge courts in every jurisdiction to find otherwise.