Friday, February 28, 2014 - 01:13

GCHQ snoops into Yahoo webcams

According to the Guardian the GCHQ runs a program dubbed Optic Nerve to bug Yahoo webcam chats of an estimated 1.8 million users in just over a six month period.

No warrant or suspicion of any kind required...comes naturally. Which is not overly surprising anyway since 1.8 million terrorists in a six month period would be sort of awkward.

According to the Guardian 1 capture is taken every 5 minutes. So it's not a full stream or a video but rather a sequence of images following a timeline. Nevertheless this is quite obviously a massive intrusion into privacy of citizens who are not under suspicion of any crime other than using Yahoo.

And just to be clear here ... of course US citizens are included.

A paragraph dealing with a particular privacy concern is slightly troubling...

Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. 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.

Really? it appears Cpt. Obvious has no consulting contract with the GCHQ. 

between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains "undesirable nudity" ... there is no perfect ability to censor material which may be offensive. Users who may feel uncomfortable about such material are advised not to open them

Well. If you wouldn't be illegally snooping into private porn you wouldn't be confronted with undesirable nudity. And not open it? Then why is it stored?

Some blackmailing scheme if a politician isn't particularly receptive to other advances?

Of course they would never do something like that. That's ridiculous.

Oh. What's the GCHQ spokesperson's take on this?

Furthermore, 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

Of course. Proportionate and necessary ... who could have possible thought of something else.

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