May 01, 2012, 2:39 PM — The engineer who wrote the code causing Google's Street View cars to capture unencrypted Wi-Fi traffic in several countries has been identified, according to an online report. Marius Milner, currently a software engineer for Google's YouTube, was the person responsible for creating Street View's Wi-Fi traffic recording software, The New York Times is reporting. The Times said it uncovered Milner's identity through a former state investigator who was involved in a separate inquiry into Google Street View. Milner also appears to be the creator of NetStumbler, a security application for Windows PCs that lets users optimize their wireless network and plug up any potential security holes.
The Street View engineer's identity has become a hot topic in recent days after Google released a copy of an FCC investigation suggesting Google employees knew Street View cars were data snooping on open Wi-Fi networks. Google had previously stated that it unintentionally collected data from unprotected Wi-Fi networks all over the globe capturing snippets of e-mails, instant messages, web browsing and other online activity.
How It All Started
Google's Wi-Fi woes started in 2010 after the company received a request from Germany's data protection authority to audit the information that Street View cars collected. As part of the project, Google was recording publicly available identifying information from Wi-Fi routers around the world in order to create a router location database to help improve the accuracy of location-based services for Android phones and other Google products. But the search giant also said its cars had mistakenly collected fragments of user data in the process.