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Marius Milner, the Google engineer reported to be responsible for the code that allowed Street View cars to collect data from home networks, is listed as one of the inventors on a Google patent for a technology meant to thwart “hackers and other ne’er-do-wells” who “may seek to tap into communications on a network.”

As reported elsewhere, Milner was also the creator of NetStumbler, a leading Windows application used in wardriving, the technique for finding wireless networks from a car.

But a search for Milner’s name at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office turns up a filing that’s particularly ironic, given the type of technology the patent describes.

Here’s an excerpt from the document.

Hackers and other ne’er-do-wells may seek to tap into communications on a network. For example, thieves may seek to intercept communications so as to identify financial information or to listen in on telephone conversations (such as over digital packet-based networks). Others, such as hackers, may seek to obtain user names and passwords so as to later access resources on a network for malicious purposes. To prevent such security breaches, users of remote devices use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other such approach to communicate with a central network such as a corporate LAN or WAN.

This document describes systems and techniques relating to device authentication for networks. In general, the systems and techniques may assist in providing access to a secure network. For example, a system may transmit a session identifier to provide a password, an identifier, and a time-stamp to a client. The system may use such information in analyzing a session identifier to ensure that a client trying to access a private network is a legitimate client with a viable session identifier.

The patent application was originally made in 2007 and issued last year. Milner is one of four people from Google listed as inventors.

Google hasn’t confirmed Milner’s identity as the “Engineer Doe” responsible for the code. More background on the case in this New York Times piece, including a statement from Milner in which he doesn’t seem to agree with the assessment that he was a rogue employee acting alone.

The FCC recently closed the case, finding that Google didn’t break any laws through its actions but obstructed justice in the case, a contention that Google disputes.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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