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Data Engineer In Google Case Is Identified

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the under-the-bus dept.

Google 186

theodp writes "Meet Engineer Doe. A NY Times report has identified Marius Milner as the software engineer at the center of the uproar over a Google project that used Wi-Fi sniffing Google Street View cars to collect e-mail and other personal data from potentially millions of unsuspecting people. Milner, creator of the wardriving software NetStumbler, referred questions to his lawyer. Google declined to comment. A patent search shows the USPTO awarded Google and Milner a patent in June 2011 for protecting Internet users from 'hackers and other ne'er-do-wells [who] may seek to tap into communications on a network.'"

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If you have something that you don't want (-1, Troll)

NotMariusMiller (2629715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856117)

Anyone remember Eric Schmidt's words:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

Oh wow, looks like Google tried to protect the guy being identified in courts and now he is outed by NY Times. How big hypocrisy is that? Oh wow, turns out he is a wardriving software creator, hacker and the patent application Google and he was awarded was about protecting against the exact thing Google and he JUST DID, worldwide snooping and collection of private data. Just wow, Google. Just wow.

MariusMilner.com and every other associated domain is free. Hint hint. He probably has nothing to hide, so there's no problem if someone lists all the publicly available information, pictures, images, live movements etc there ;-)

Re:If you have something that you don't want (5, Insightful)

SaroDarksbane (1784314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856185)

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

Or in this case, if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be broadcasting it over the airwaves to the public at large.

Just a thought.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (-1, Troll)

NotMariusMiller (2629715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856215)

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

Or in this case, if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be broadcasting it over the airwaves to the public at large.

Just a thought.

You can't be that stupid. I live in a place that has wifi where you log in with password. It is encrypted, but after logged in you can still sniff everyone else on the network. It still doesn't make it right to do so.

Likewise, your internet traffic goes unencrypted when it leaves your house. It doesn't make it right for me to plug in to that in between your house and ISP and capture that data.

Google and Marius Milner can go fuck themselves.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856245)

If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

Or in this case, if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be broadcasting it over the airwaves to the public at large. Just a thought.

https is your friend. Seriously on any wifi network you should use https for anything secure.

You can't be that stupid. I live in a place that has wifi where you log in with password. It is encrypted, but after logged in you can still sniff everyone else on the network. It still doesn't make it right to do so. Likewise, your internet traffic goes unencrypted when it leaves your house. It doesn't make it right for me to plug in to that in between your house and ISP and capture that data. Google and Marius Milner can go fuck themselves.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0, Troll)

NotMariusMiller (2629715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856307)

Not every site supports https, and I don't want some random people to snoop data even if isn't as secure. And in fact, I do use VPN for exactly this reason, but I am in the minority that knows this stuff. 99% don't.

The reason we have laws is to prevent people from taking advantage of situations. Your reasoning is along the same as "you shouldn't go out if you don't want to get stabbed". It is not reasonable suggestion. We prevent people from abusing things like this with laws and there are penalties if they do. I hope Google gets fined big time and every engineer and supervisor associated with the project put into jail. That's what would happen to any individual doing this.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856395)

Your reasoning is along the same as "you shouldn't go out if you don't want to get stabbed". It is not reasonable suggestion.

Do you even have the ability to grasp granularity of magnitude that isn't all on or all off?

HTTPS isn't the issue here. THERE IS NO PRIVATE NETWORK ON OPEN WIFI. A secured connection, a dedicated connection from an ISP, these are PRIVATE connections. OPEN WIFI is a PUBLIC ONE.

You don't want people listening in on your phone calls? Don't have them outside in a public place, the hobos might steam your trade secrets (or whatever paranoia types like you subscribe to).
You don't want people listening in on your data? Don't transmit it on a "public" medium.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856421)

The people they were snooping on weren't intentionally running an open WiFi and had an expectation of privacy. Google, also, wasn't "accidentally" connecting and grabbing data. IT WAS ENTIRELY INTENTIONAL to be sniffing people's traffic.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (-1, Troll)

NotMariusMiller (2629715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856439)

On top of that, Google outright LIED that it was just accident, and they have been now busted on their lie.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856893)

The ISPs and device vendors who sold UNSAFE PRODUCTS to consumers are the folks we should be mad at.

Car analogy: Do you get mad at the guy who slowed his car in front of you, or the auto manufacturer who sold you a car with the brakes detached from the brake pedal?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856929)

I still disagree that this is an issue. To me, there is no expectation of privacy if your communication is not encrypted. hell, this is the governments take on it as well, within the context of Total Information Awareness or whatever its called today. Why is it a big deal for google to do this over public airwaves, and its a non-issue for the government to do this over leased lines?

These people could have spent the 10 minutes more to encrypt their traffic or read and understand what it meant, they did not. Whats next, nail the kid next door for listening to your cordless phone conversation, baby monitor, etc?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857435)

The people they were snooping on weren't intentionally running an open WiFi and had an expectation of privacy.

A false one. Ignorance is not an excuse.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (3, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856831)

So if I leave the door to my house unlocked it's OK for you to go in and take what ever you want? How much responsibility falls on the home owner? If they lock their doors and arm a security system but the system is old and easy to bypass and the thief has a bump key is it the owners fault. Google identifying open wifi while driving around is not the problem it's that they went into the network and collected data. If they sniffed any VOIP traffic then they committed a felony the only reason they have not been charged is that email and other communication are not protected under law.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1, Insightful)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856961)

If you leave your house unlocked, no, that doesn't allow me to go in and take whatever I want, because the DOOR IS CLOSED. Now, if you opened your door, and put a sign on the porch saying "Hey, I have stuff in here", then yes, it is your fault. Same as if you were broadcasting unencrypted wifi signals.

And while we are on the topic, let me educate you a bit. If you send out an unencrypted radio signal, and I do nothing more than receive it, then I did not "go into the network" to get anything. I received exactly what was sent to me. See the difference?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

TechCar (2628639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857055)

If you leave your house unlocked, no, that doesn't allow me to go in and take whatever I want, because the DOOR IS CLOSED. Now, if you opened your door, and put a sign on the porch saying "Hey, I have stuff in here", then yes, it is your fault. Same as if you were broadcasting unencrypted wifi signals.

Nobody has put up any signs saying anyone is free to sniff their internet traffic.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857187)

Actually they did, by broadcasting it freely, unencrypted over the airwaves. This isn't "sniffing". You could receive that signal with a random piece of wire. If you broadcast something, it is, sort of by definition, BROADCAST. Get it? You not only left the door open, you threw your stuff out the window, then complained when someone came by and picked it up off the street.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857479)

Lets be proper about this.

Nobody picked it up off the street, they merely looked at it, and made a record in their journal.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (5, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857465)

I don't think you understand how radio works. It's like sound.

Your neighbor blares his stereo? Well, you can hear his music because of that.

You blare your unencrypted data? Well, I can read it.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856991)

it's that they went into the network and collected data

They didn't "go into" the network. They collected data that was floating on the airwaves around them. The proper analogy isn't with walking into an open door, but taking a photo through an open window. From the street. Something that Google has already done [google.com] .

Re:If you have something that you don't want (4, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857081)

They didn't "go into" the network. They collected data that was floating on the airwaves around them. The proper analogy isn't with walking into an open door, but taking a photo through an open window. From the street.

Actually, it's more like putting a speaker outside your house, then playing personal information over it for anyone driving down the street to hear, and then getting angry that someone had the gall to record the audio that you were broadcasting to the world at large.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857291)

stop being retarded about the electromagnetic spectrum. radio and light are the same thing. so if i dont put up curtains that gives you free reign to peer into the windows of my house and make an inventory?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

niado (1650369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857365)

so if i dont put up curtains that gives you free reign to peer into the windows of my house and make an inventory?

Um, pretty much yes?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857103)

Aaaaand here goes another failed analogy. Your analogy would work much better if Google did "bypass" anything, but in this case you've left your big pink dildo in the driveway and now is troubled by the fact that it shows up on Google Streetview.

And yes, this ^^^ analogy works much better. They didn't break and enter anywhere, they didn't specifically look for dildoes and embarassing secrets, they just drove by taking pictures (and random full frames of Wi-Fi - though they should have grabbed only headers). In other words, it's completely the same as if they'd rummage through your wardrobe while you're not looking.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857195)

I think it's more like you living in a home with large windows and no curtains.

The Street View car comes passing by and takes a picture of you standing nude in your house.

Are they going to publish it? No. Do they have it on their hard drive? Yes. Is it their fault you were standing nude in front of an open window? No.

If you didn't want a picture taken, then get some blinds.

Better analogy (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857161)

You don't want people listening in on your data? Don't transmit it on a "public" medium.

But google wasn't just incidentally listening to peoples data (like seeing the router name and signal strength). They were doing the equivalent of setting up a ladder on the sidewalk and taking multiple telephoto photos through each house's front windows on each block, in every town, in every state, then compiling and analyzing the data so they could better advertise to each household. If I'm in my kitchen doing dishes and someone looks at the kitchen windows while walking down the sidewalk that's one thing. But if a fellow sets up a ladder, climbs it, then whips out a camera with a telephoto lens, is that fellow just capturing light that I am broadcasting into the public medium? Sort of, but he's also making a substantial effort to see things that aren't intended to be public. To knowledgeable people the most that a wardriver would see is the router name and the signal strength. That's like the incidental glancing at the window, no big deal. That is public. Google was using advanced packet sniffing software to effectively get on the ladder and take telephoto pictures of what was going on inside. You try out the ladder/camera trick and see how long before the local police show up and toss you in the clink for being a peeping tom.

Re:Better analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857313)

... To knowledgeable people the most that a wardriver would see is the router name and the signal strength. ...

I take it you're not of those people then, because this is just false. Wardriver would be interested in the router name, signal strength and state of encryption. He would see all the same that Google car did. It doesn't take any supersecret "advanced packet sniffing" spy hardware and software.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856441)

Your reasoning is along the same as "you shouldn't go out if you don't want to get stabbed".

This is the worst comparison I've ever witnessed. As a Slashdot user, I'm glad that it wasn't a car analogy. But still.. worst comparison ever.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856347)

https is your friend. Seriously on any wifi network you should use https for anything secure.

MITM attacks on public wifi hotspots are mostly trivial. Yeah, keep believing that using HTTPS is securing anything.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856493)

https is your friend. Seriously on any wifi network you should use https for anything secure.

MITM attacks on public wifi hotspots are mostly trivial. Yeah, keep believing that using HTTPS is securing anything.

Written by someone who obviously doesn't understand how https works. Your site URL is validated against a server-side certificate. The protocol starts with an exchange of public keys, then uses session keys for the session. This makes a man in the middle attack impossible.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (-1, Troll)

NotMariusMilner2 (2629743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856567)

Written by someone who obviously doesn't understand how https works. Your site URL is validated against a server-side certificate. The protocol starts with an exchange of public keys, then uses session keys for the session. This makes a man in the middle attack impossible.

Yeah, who here doesn't understand things. I live in a country that has been serving fake certs and other trickery even when trying to login to fucking Slashdot using HTTPS. If you believe that there is no way around or no tricks to use against users you are being unbelievable naive and/or idiot. Hell, even Slashdot allows this because it has non-https components even if you browse with https.

Go back to your noob-box and get some clue.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856663)

... I live in a country that has been serving fake certs and other trickery even when trying to login ...

So, by "trivial" you mean "Easy, you just need to be a government official with a leverage over certificate authority, or you could simply hack a CA and issue a fake certificate. Trivial!"

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

NotMariusMilner2 (2629743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856721)

First step is to issue self-signed certificate. This was done to me. I declined it, but most people don't because they jstu want it to work. After that there are other ways, like serving http-components on https-page. Even Slashdot's HTTPS is currently broken, as it has parts that are http.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856857)

Written by someone who obviously doesn't understand how https works. Your site URL is validated against a server-side certificate. The protocol starts with an exchange of public keys, then uses session keys for the session. This makes a man in the middle attack impossible.

Yeah, who here doesn't understand things. I live in a country that has been serving fake certs and other trickery even when trying to login to fucking Slashdot using HTTPS. If you believe that there is no way around or no tricks to use against users you are being unbelievable naive and/or idiot. Hell, even Slashdot allows this because it has non-https components even if you browse with https. Go back to your noob-box and get some clue.

Bullshit, Certificates are international, and whenever certificate authorities have been compromised their issuing certificates have been revoked.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

NotMariusMilner2 (2629743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857139)

Yeah, you just continue to show clueless you are. Are you high or something?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

6ULDV8 (226100) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857453)

Golly! I guess my Palo Alto firewalls are lying to me.

We use these to prevent internal data loss, filter malware, virus, etc... and decrypt all SSL traffic as normal policy. The client never knows the difference because the firewall has its own cert issued by a trusted CA. You could always do the same yourself, but the process has been made trivial with an appliance.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856277)

You're an idiot.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856305)

Neither of those analogies are appropriate, and your reaction is awfully spiteful for someone who likely wouldn't be on an unencrypted wi-fi network in the first place.

In one of your examples, you're given access to a private system with the idea that you won't mess with other.
In the other, you're tapping into a private circuit with the intent to steal data.

If anything, home routers should come pre-encrpyted, with the random default key on a sticker on the bottom, and display a warning and disclaimer for people who wish to run unencrypted wi-fi.

Someone before made the analogy about this being like having sex with the windows open, and then saying anyone who happens to stare for a few extra seconds can go fuck themselves and deserves to die. What kind of person ARE you???

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856521)

more like you go round every house in your city , taking a picture of that house, and checking to if the windows are open, then looking through the window where you see your mum and myself, then put that up on the company intranet to say that house keeps it's windows open and your mum there :)

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857003)

Nah, it's really much closer to "go around the city, looking at every house, and find several people broadcasting video of them having sex", since nothing Google did violated the internal network, all they did was receive a radio signal that was unencrypted.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856343)

You can't be that stupid...

If the system is open, an easily sniffable, you're an idiot for using it with stuff you don't want publically accessible.

* I don't use WiFi at home (easy enough to wire a place up, a simple weekend project).
* When I do use WiFi...
** If it is encrypted, then I will use things like email, etc. But only if they are on a secure pipe (such as https / pops / etc.). I still won't use it for anything financial.
** If it is unecrypted, then I will only do casual browsing - no stuff with user names or passwords.
* Wired is treated like secure/encrypted WiFi, except I will do financial things (if it is a network I trust)...

Remember, on the internet, paranoia is your friend because everyone IS out to get you.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856707)

So you don't use WiFi at home but you don't mind using it in other places? Jesus, stick WPA2 on there, Enterprise if you're a paranoid fuckerlord and just get on with your life. It takes half a second to cancel a credit card and if you happen to be victim of fraud it will probably be because you clicked some bad link.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856833)

I use wifi away from home only when it is a necessity. And only at when times I don't have an option. End even when I do use it, I restrict what I do (as stated previously, sorry if this mildly complex set of use-cases confused you). Also, it keeps anyone from accessing my home network via WiFI, should they manage a successful breakin. Using wifi elsewhere won't allow them to break in to my home network via wifi. If you need an explanation why, please go back to eating your crayons and glue.

If what I do is too complex for you, that's your problem, not mine. But I don't feel like wasting 10-15 mins on the phone to cancel a credit card, dealing with issues of someone having gotten into my filesystems because they've run rampant on my network, or having the cops come after me because someone hacked my network and started using my internet for illegal purposes.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

NotMariusMilner2 (2629743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856877)

Did it ever cross your mind that not everyone lives like you? Or lives as closely guarded in his home as you?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856917)

Congrats. I keep forgetting nothing on a wired network has ever been compromised.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857413)

This level of paranoia seems unwarranted to me for at least 2 reasons:

1. Even on your wired network at home, once your traffic leaves your house there are any number of people who with enough motivation could intercept your traffic.
2. As long as you are using websites that employ SSL the data between you and that site is encrypted, even if the WiFi signal is not.

I'm not saying you should not be paranoid but there reaches a point of diminishing returns.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856359)

I live in a place that has wifi where you log in with password. It is encrypted, but after logged in you can still sniff everyone else on the network. It still doesn't make it right to do so.

So it's not public.

It doesn't make it right for me to plug in to that in between your house and ISP and capture that data.

So it's not public.

You can't be that stupid. Yet you've made multiple posts showing otherwise.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (2)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856401)

I live in a place that has wifi where you log in with password. It is encrypted, but after logged in you can still sniff everyone else on the network. It still doesn't make it right to do so.

Likewise, your internet traffic goes unencrypted when it leaves your house. It doesn't make it right for me to plug in to that in between your house and ISP and capture that data.

HTTPS and SSH cannot be sniffed on your wifi, nor does either one "go unencrypted" when it leaves your house. Broadband providers using DOCSIS [comcast.com] protocols also are not sniffable by your neighbors.

However, I recommend you should worry more about "is it possible" and "is it likely" rather than "is it right". Our government and the big corporations (that's redundant, I know) clearly aren't at all concerned about your ideas of right and wrong.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856247)

So then you won't mind me recording your cell phone calls? You're broadcasting them to the public at large so that makes it okay, right?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857037)

Sure. Oh wait, except that to do so, you would have to break the encryption, which is against the law. In fact, now that I think about it, that makes your analogy completely useless, doesn't it? You *do* see the difference, right?

mod parent up (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857131)

mod parent up

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856915)

Oh stop this mentality.

Just because someone's data is out there does not give anyone carte blanche to do whatever they want with it.

Someone loses a check--has their account number and routing number in the MICR ink. Do they deserve to have their account hacked.

Someone has a public Wi-fi connection. They may be leaking data *to* *wardrivers* *only* but everyone else uses it honestly. They really deserve to have their data intercepted? Really?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857221)

Someone loses a check--has their account number and routing number in the MICR ink. Do they deserve to have their account hacked.

Losing a check is an accident.

They didn't "lose" their packets -- they broadcast them in the clear. And it was no accident, it was done for the express purpose of communicating with devices in range. Some other device was also in range, and heard it.

That's nothing like the same situation.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856415)

You forgot to bring up the second part of the quote:

But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And [...] we're all subject, in the US, to the Patriot Act, and it is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856429)

Your hate towards Marius Milner is so strong, you saw this article in the future and registered just in time to post this comment with same timestamp as the article?..

Tech(NY|LA|Cars|nicalExpert), you're so unsubtle :(

Re:If you have something that you don't want (3, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856433)

But how could he not write the sniffer program? A co-worker of mine wrote a fun screen-saver. It posted each image sniffed over wifi in a random place on the background, creating a real-time collage of what people were viewing on the Internet. He wrote the program and showed it to his boss, and fortunately being at a start-up, he found it amusing. He also hacked our WEP security in a few hours with some hacker software, leading us to upgrade our protection rather than get pissed. It is the nature of good engineers to be curious, and Joe Engineer does not offend me. It's the government that scares me [scpr.org] .

Re:If you have something that you don't want (2)

minerat (678240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856467)

I think it was stupid, but it doesn't look like it was a vast Google conspiracy to inhale as much data as possible for the takeover of the world. It looks like a stupid decision by an engineer and a layer of incompetent management.

I certainly don't condone anyone collecting WiFi data that most people expect to be private, but correct me if I'm wrong - they didn't crack WEP/WPA/hack their way into routers to obtain this data. That means it was floating free and unencrypted over the air for anyone to observe. It's shady and makes Google look bad, but technically it's not much different from receiving FM radio signals; perhaps short range walkie talkie conversations are a more apt comparison - still not illegal and not patently immoral.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (1)

DarkAce911 (245282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857429)

I don't know about that, they knowingly assigned a well-known writer of war-driving software to the street view team. It is kind of obvious what is going to happen next. That was the reason Google hired him in the first place.

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856669)

Okay, non-subscriber who posts long reply with same timestamp as the story, I have a question. Since you claiming that Google stole this data intentionally, what was there motivation? What was their evil plot plot to turn this data into money?

Re:If you have something that you don't want (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857301)

Hello you piece of shit atroturfing moron.

Could you be any more useless?

If you weren't such a fucking piece of shit asshole perhaps you would post on your main account, but no, you don't want any backlash regarding the bullshit you spout.

So, how much are you paid to be an asshole anyway?

ftfy (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856163)

Data Engineer In Google Case Is Identified

Fall Guy In Google Case Is Identified.
FTFY

Re:ftfy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856197)

How could he be the "fall guy" if they kept his name anonymous?

Re:ftfy (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856809)

Well, I don't think it happened in this case, but pretending to keep someone's name anonymous and then leaking it is a pretty common strategy in politics.

Re:ftfy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856853)

There's no harm to Google in passively protecting his name, until they actually need to start deflecting.

Still, I don't blame Google for this as a whole company, this is just the sort of crap that happens when you start getting big and units in your organization start becoming unaccountable and separated from your supposed values. This short of crap was just inevitable.

On the other hand, perhaps Google should think very carefully about what sort of company they want to be, a big, ubiquitous corporation, or perhaps some smaller, more accountable companies split off from the whole.

Re:ftfy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856199)

Exactly. This poor schmuck is going to get thrown under the bus so Google can attempt to save face by claiming this wasn't their exact intention. Maybe next time they should read up on wiretapping laws?

Re:ftfy (-1, Troll)

NotMariusMiller (2629715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856353)

Maybe, just maybe, Google and their idiot engineers realize what it feels like when all their info leaks out? This is why he needs to be singled out, and all his information made public.

Re:ftfy (0)

RealGene (1025017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856569)

I thinks it's exceptionally clever of Google that they found a wifi hacker with street cred to write the sniffer, so that they could be shocked! SHOCKED! to find wifi sniffing was taking place in their establishment.

Re:ftfy (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856725)

I thinks it's exceptionally clever of Google that they found a wifi hacker with street cred to write the sniffer,

Dude... there's nothing exceptionally clever about it. There are dozens of sniffers out there that are easy to configure and use. The fact that Google hired a guy who wrote one isn't clever; It's business. Clever is leaving this guy twisting in the wind, with no future job prospects, no stock options, and only a few months' unemployment to coast on before beginning his new career in retail -- thus protecting the Google brand identity and slogan "Do No Evil". Determining whether or not ruining someone's life for doing exactly what was asked of them by management qualifies as evil or not is left as an excercise for the reader.

Didn't RTFA? Just pull comments out of your ass! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856769)

Now a former state investigator involved in another inquiry into Street View has identified Engineer Doe. The former investigator said he was Marius Milner ... The former state investigator spoke on the condition that he not be identified because he was not authorized to speak. ... Although the F.C.C. declined to identify the engineer, a footnote in the full text of its report said Google told the agency the identity of Engineer Doe “only because it had disclosed his name to state investigators on December 17, 2010.” Google declined to comment.

That's clearly Google's fault. They shouldn't have told state investigators ANYTHING. I mean, they got reprimanded for "obstructing investigation" or somesuch anyways, what does one more bit held back matter?

Re:ftfy (1)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856881)

What kind of twisted world view do you have in which corporate employees are transformed into mindless minions that have to obey every command? As an employee, you still have moral and legal responsibilities. If he had thought that this was the wrong thing to do, he could have said "no". In fact, the way Google works, he probably could have said "no" without consequences.

I think what rather happened is that he thought this was an OK thing to do. Good for him! I hope he makes that argument stick, because I think he's right and it's the principled position to take. However, it still comes down to the fact that he made that choice to go ahead, and he needs to now deal with the consequences. And the long term consequences may still be good for him and for all of us, in that people may come to realize that we shouldn't have useless and ineffective legal restrictions on recording publicly broadcast data.

Re:ftfy (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857039)

What kind of twisted world view do you have in which corporate employees are transformed into mindless minions that have to obey every command?

My 'twisted' world view is called 'capitalism'. And yes, if you want to stay employed, you do what the person signing your paycheck tells you to do.

As an employee, you still have moral and legal responsibilities.

Yes, the moral responsibility to keep eating, paying the rent so you can keep a roof over your head, etc. It's very easy to act all indignant that someone would choose to eat food instead of morals; It's a lot harder when you're the one choosing between keeping your job, or losing your car, house, family, etc.

In fact, the way Google works, he probably could have said "no" without consequences.

The evidence does not agree with your 'world view'. Also, although cliche, I have to say "Citation needed." You haven't claimed you work for google, nor provided any citation or information that might suggest Google is somehow above its fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders; Because before this guy got fired, the Board most certainly looked at the issue and determined one man's future was not worth Google getting raked over the coals in a PR disaster. To suggest that they would take the moral high ground on that is preposterous: All businesses react the same way to a perceived threat -- they jettison it and distance themselves from responsibility for it as quickly as possible.

I think what rather happened is that he thought this was an OK thing to do. Good for him! I hope he makes that argument stick, because I think he's right and ...

... And that'll be the last time he gets a job in this industry. What's the first thing a prospective employer does these days? Type your name into a search engine and see what it comes up with. And right there, as the #1 result for the rest of his life, will be "Caused PR disaster." Whether that's true or not is irrelevant; Future employers won't take the risk. Taking the moral high ground is not without its consequences; That is why so few people these days do it.

, in that people may come to realize that we shouldn't have useless and ineffective legal restrictions on recording publicly broadcast data.

I'm sure he'll take great comfort in raising public awareness on this very important issue, while he's asking you if you'd like fries with that.

Re:ftfy (1)

RealGene (1025017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856925)

Sorry, forgot the "ironic" tag. The clever part is in finding the perfect fall guy, not the perfect coder.

Inflammatory Headline (0)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856203)

He's a witch! Burn him!!! Burn him!!!

Seriously, though, it sounds like he is a fugitive on the run that got fingered.

Re:Inflammatory Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856239)

I know right? I was just about to say that as soon as I saw the headline.

"Urhh yerr we don't know anything about that there wi-fi sniffing"
"haaaang on a minute, we found your guy! This guy done it! This guy right here!"

All blame put on him, gets screwed over, life ruined, all to keep Google "good".
Pathetic.

Re:Inflammatory Headline - Paid Astroturf Spot (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857431)

If you check out the name of the person who made first post, along with the time stamp you'll see why it was written as inflammatory as possible.

I'm finally coming around to the opinion that /. is taking money for some story submissions such as this one.

like the phrase (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856267)

If this guy is responsible for sneaking the phrase "hackers and other ne'er-do-wells" into an official legal document, I sort of like him already.

In general though I don't see much reason to single him out, when it seems fairly clear (from what evidence is available) that this was a Google project, not a "rogue employee" acting against management's wishes. There are cases where I'd support individual employees being held accountable, but I'm not sure this rises to that level; whether this turns out to be right or wrong, I think Google as a company should own the actions.

Re:like the phrase (1)

second_coming (2014346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856427)

It all depends as to whether he added the code without permission from the higher ups.

I must admit, it sounds to me like he's being turned into a sacrificial offering.

Marius Milner's Software Downloads (1)

DarkStarZumaBeach (668886) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856325)

NetStumbler for Windows and MiniStumbler for Windows CE downloads are at: NetStumbler.com [netstumbler.com]

Downloads are free but PayPal donations are accepted.

Idiots (3, Interesting)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856351)

I guess it would be beyond expectation for someone to tell anyone complaining their data was "stolen" that they should have been pumping it into the local atmosphere for all to read without any encryption or other basic protection.

Yeah, holding people accountable for their own idiotic actions would make too much sense. Beside, we make far too much money out of idiots who bought cool stuff with no clue how it actually works - me especially, a lot of my tech support clients use Macs.

Re:Idiots (1)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856387)

Take note kids, this is what happens when you post dehydrated.

Re:Idiots (-1, Troll)

NotMariusMiller (2629715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856397)

I guess it would be beyond expectation for someone to tell anyone complaining their data was "stolen" that they should have been pumping it into the local atmosphere for all to read without any encryption or other basic protection.

Yeah, just like we should not prosecute crooks that steal credit card numbers from ATM's, but instead we should blame the victims because they were "too stupid" not to see the modifications?

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856453)

Bad analogy.
 
If those same 'victims' were walking around with their account information on a giant board around their body, yelling that they have available resources and anyone can use them if they want too, then yes, we would call those people stupid.

Re:Idiots (0)

NotMariusMilner2 (2629743) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856631)

It is perfectly fine analogy. Most people don't know the implications of using non-secured WIFI. They aren't "yelling anyone to use their data", they (reasonably) think it wouldn't be possible because they don't know about it. Just like you might not know that some crook is stealing your credit card number.

Re:Idiots (2)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857077)

So let me see if I understand your argument. People aren't stupid, because they don't know the implications of unsecured wifi. Or put another way, people aren't stupid because they are ignorant and lazy instead? Every freakin router manual you will ever find, as part of the 'simple setup steps' tells you to change the default SSID, and turn on some sort of encryption. If they don't do that, then it sure sounds stupid to me.

Re:Idiots (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856461)

I guess it would be beyond expectation for someone to tell anyone complaining their data was "stolen" that they should have been pumping it into the local atmosphere for all to read without any encryption or other basic protection.

Most people didn't set up their home network and probably had expected that it wasn't publicly accessible. In most cases, these people had their WiFi setup done by whoever came from their ISP to set it up. They had an expectation of privacy. This is really no different than the fact that you can't just record phone calls without consent either.

Yeah, holding people accountable for their own idiotic actions would make too much sense.

Like holding Google accountable for someone purposefully going around sniffing people's traffic?

Only the unencrypted information is useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856375)

If you broadcast your data over airwaves, without encryption, you get what you deserve. Seriously this is only an issue at all if dimwits would just enable encryption. Instead of google doing this it very well could have been your creepy next door neighbor. Which one would you rather see your packets? Oh right, neither, so turn on encryption.

I'm not sure how this story is still even an issue. Geeks should already understand this, if you don't, you aren't a geek. Also, troll stories are troll-e.

Re:Only the unencrypted information is useful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856541)

You (and the 100 other posts with the same sentiment) are frickin' morons.
Yes you should protect you data as much as possible, but there are always
ways around that and looking through other peoples stuff is wrong. just because
you *can* doesn't mean you *should*. If you mail a letter, I could grab it out of you
mailbox shine a light or something to read the contents (or unseal/read/reseal).
would your response be "Well, I guess I should have put the letter in a stainless steel
box and welded it shut"

Re:Only the unencrypted information is useful (1)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856895)

Uhm, no, my response would be tampering with the mail is a federal offense. Receiving unencrypted, publicly accessible radio transmissions isn't. If you are broadcasting unencrypted wifi signals, you do not have an expectation of privacy, any more than broadcasting an FM radio signal does. If I seal an envelope and mail it, and you steam it open, or shine a light through it to read it, you know you are looking at something you shouldn't, because it was SEALED. Get it?

Re:Only the unencrypted information is useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856897)

Nope. Sending letters in envelopes, and setting up wifi encryption - just as any router's "Insert a disk and follow the instructions" installation wizard nags you to do - is reasonable expectations of privacy. Open Wi-Fi is like sending open postcard and hoping no one catches a glimpse of what's written there.

If Google was doing the equivalent of "shine a light or something", i.e. breaking WEP encryption or something, that would be a different matter and they wouldn't get off with just $25000 fine for obstruction.

The big cat in the room. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39856413)

Posting anonymous so this will not haunt me forever through the net (unless you are tracking me already har har).

Has anybody actually been hurt? Because, uh, I'm just asking. I'm all for privacy but I don't see anyone poring over my data in this case. So has anybody been hurt? Where is the victim?

Or are we talking about hurting the feelings of those poor electrons that used to mean something, however fleeting, before being vacuumed up by a hateful engineer?

And you know every atom whose state you have ever modified has certain inalienable rights..

I am pretty damned cynical about big corporations and those who presume to rule them, but there are plenty of white collar criminals in power in America and I have yet to see any at Google.

And for your info I think Sergey's and Larry's excellent space adventure shows me enough where those guys stand. I prefer to support Google and Man's Future In Space. The rest of the establishment, their cops and politicos and bastards who talk out the sides of their mouths, the warhawks and smack sellers, and all the self righteous fucks who turn a blind eye to killing, and the fucktards who find a moral pinnacle somewhere in there, they can all go off and fuck themselves until they die.

As for Milner? Well he is either completely innocent or a geek who has been hypnotized until robotic. Happens every day in America. There are one thousand other cases more worthy of prosecution.

Re:The big cat in the room. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857485)

Would you have preferred that they waited to deal with this after someone actually got hurt?

Google's not going to go out of business here, and even those who believe this was less of a mistake and more of a "project", don't think that it was necessarily going to be used as more than some sort of research into something else.

That said, Google has set the bar for itself, and it needs to be consistent about it. The company needs to actually enforce its core values or they are going to be seen as either a good idea that would never work in the "real world" or worse, an egomaniacal expression that actually means "Evil is what we say it is".
 

Doesn't seem to be a "rogue employee" (5, Insightful)

aclarke (307017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856583)

Here's a choice tidbit from the article:

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, 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.

The F.C.C. report also had Engineer Doe spelling out his intentions quite clearly in his initial proposal. Managers of the Street View project said they never read it.

Depicting his actions as the work of a rogue “requires putting a lot of dots together,” Mr. Milner said enigmatically Sunday before insisting again he had no comment. He said he was closely following the news reports on the issue.

If that's all to be believed, Milner reported on what he was doing, and sent it to his boss(es). They opted to "not read" the report. If at least six other engineers were in a position to know, then this sounds more like a "no, don't put this in writing or tell us what you're doing" situation than a rogue employee. If bosses aren't responsible for their employees, what are they there for?

Re:Doesn't seem to be a "rogue employee" (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856823)

If this were anyone other than Google, Slashdot group think would be shouting "incompetent company!" as loud as they could...

Re:Doesn't seem to be a "rogue employee" (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857099)

If bosses aren't responsible for their employees, what are they there for?

To provide individual profit without individual responsibility. Unless, of course, profit is threatened, in which case sacrificing an individual is a reasonable response. See also: The reason most people over the age of 30 are fired. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone blubber "But I did what they asked me to..." on the way out the door. I've worked corporate jobs long enough to know that when someone asks you to do something you think might backfire, you smile, agree, and work as slowly as possible on the project while working as quickly as possible at finding another job and getting your name off the reports. Corporations will not hesitate to throw their employees under the bus -- afterall, it's not like you're unique or important... there's fifty more just like you a phone call away.

That is the raisin de etre for a corporation: Individual profit without individual responsibility.

Re:Doesn't seem to be a "rogue employee" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857141)

"no, don't put this in writing or tell us what you're doing"

Standard government m/o - and numerous corrupt outfits.

But, hey, it's Google and the Do No Evil (TM) so they get a free pass

Re:Doesn't seem to be a "rogue employee" (1)

Wheatie (598715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857179)

If I were a shareholder, this sort of loose operations control would seriously worry me. I know that Google was at least partially built on letting creative people run off and do what interests them, but there also needs to be a decent level of oversight and guidance to ensure that employees don't inadvertently (or even intentionally) get themselves into legal troubles.

personal project to study WiFi spots gone bad (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856685)

He said it was an add-on to study WiFi use around the world as part of his 20% project. I dont know if you have report or get approval for your 20% projects at Google or elsewhere. But after this is may be a good idea to have some supervision.

It would be like adding some metric measurement software to what we ship customers. Then have that send back these data. Our customers may be unsure then if their personal data in this software is being compromised.

pursue and punish where it does some good (3, Insightful)

khipu (2511498) | more than 2 years ago | (#39856793)

If you broadcast information publicly and without sufficient encryption, the public can listen in and record it.

Apart from the question of who is right in the abstract, punishing Google or other people isn't going to deter anybody who actually wants to do you harm, since passive listening is pretty much impossible to detect. What we might restrict and punish is the use of such information, for example rebroadcasting it, using it in legal proceedings without a prior warrant, or reselling it.

The real question we should be asking is how people are punished that broadcast private information (e.g., hospitals that use unencrypted networks).

We found a witch! (1)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 2 years ago | (#39857159)

May we burn her?

Which one is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857287)

When this thing first came out Google said they hadn't done anything wrong as this was publicly available data (open networks broadcasting these packets). Now they blame everything on the 'rogue engineer'. Was what Google did wrong, yes or no? Why is not his manager and, ultimately, VP, accountable for this?

--

Sundar Pichai is the utter asshole whose incompetence has resulted in the shutdown of Google's Atlanta engineering office.

Google can decode encrypted packets too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39857373)

If you/someone have at least one Android device on your wifi network and have the following option selected:
"Back up my data: Back up application data, Wi-Fi passwords and other settings to Google servers".

Then Google can decode the packets they captured.

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