Streetview WiFi Snooper Named

The F.C.C. recently closed its 17-month inquiry into the Street View inquiry that scooped up personal data from WiFi, with a finding that Google broke no laws but had obstructed its investigation, reports the NY Times.

The FCC said it was unable to resolve all the issues it was considering because the engineer cited his Fifth Amendment right and declined to talk.

Now a former state investigator involved in another inquiry into Street View has identified the engineer as Marius Milner, a programmer with a background in telecommunications who is highly regarded in the field of Wi-Fi networking, reports the NY Times.

Milner developed NetStumbler the popular tool that facilitates detection of WiFi networks. It runs on Microsoft Windows and a trimmed-down version called MiniStumbler is available for the handheld Windows CE operating system. The NetStumbler product page was last updated on May 28, 2011. Prior to that, the previous update was back in 2005. Still, it’s a very popular and highly recommended program, although the current version doesn’t work with Windows 7 or Vista, notes Dwight Silverman.

Google long maintained that the engineer was solely responsible for this aspect of the project, which resulted in official investigations, some still unresolved, in more than a dozen countries. But a complete version of the F.C.C.’s report, released by Google on Saturday (pdf), has cast doubt on that explanation, saying that the engineer informed at least one superior and that seven engineers who worked on the code were all in a position to know what was going on, reports The Times.

Privacy group EPIC says the FCC report “undercuts the company’s prior statements that a rogue engineer was responsible for the payload data collection“.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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