UK spies intercept millions of Yahoo webcam images

27 February 2014

spy_title_cropped GCHQ - that'd be the British surveillance agency of spies - have been helped by the National Security Agency in swiping and intercepting webcam images from millions of internet users, which is a preposterous invasion of personal privacy.

According to files, which the Guardian are showing off at the moment, there was a surveillance program called 'Optic Nerve' which harvested images from Yahoo webcam chats and it didn't matter if you were an intelligence target or not. These images were stored, including all the dirty stuff people had been doing.

More than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally have been spied on.

When the Guardian got in touch with Yahoo, they are reported to have "reacted furiously" and "denied any prior knowledge of the program" before accusing agencies of "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy". In addition to that, the documents detail that GCHQ struggled to keep the huge library of "sexually explicit imagery collected by Optic Nerve away from the eyes of its staff."

One of the leaked documents says the program is like a digital police mugshot book: "Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for 'mugshots' or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face. The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright."

GCHQ insists all of its activities are necessary, proportionate, and in accordance with UK law. For more, visit the Guardian's detailed coverage by clicking the link above.

TOPICS:   Privacy

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