Apparently, millions of Yahoo users’ webcam images were intercepted by the British NSA equivalent GCHQ.
The period involved is 2008-2010 and in “Operation Optic Nerve” in which the NSA worked with GCHQ and in one 6 month period some 1.8 million users’ images were gathered. A large quantity of these were sexually explicit images, apparently.
"Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," it read.
"Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography." – BBC
Yahoo denied knowledge of or cooperation with this joint intelligence operation.
To be clear: We’re talking about flaws in Yahoo’s (and very possibly other chat) software, or perhaps the use of the Trojan/Virus used on Iran which could photograph the user while on or off the computer and use the computer’s webcam/microphone as well. That they can (and do) intercept anything and everything you email/chat as well is known to everyone, I expect.
This new revelation comes via Edward Snowden in documents leaked to The Guardian.
"We were not aware of nor would we condone this reported activity," Yahoo said in an emailed statement.
"This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world's governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.
"We are committed to preserving our users' trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services." – BBC
GCHQ in a statement said:
“it would not comment on matters of intelligence, but added: "All of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.
"All our operational processes rigorously support this position." – BBC
So, no one has any privacy anymore, and shouldn’t expect it. All anyone has to pretend is that “Security” or “Anti-Terrorism” is involved. No one’s going to be changing those surveillance laws anytime soon.
Oh yes…and stay dressed anywhere near a computer. It seems they’ve become the devices described by George Orwell in his novel “1984”.