NSA May Not Voyeuristically Pore Through Email But GCHQ Voyeuristically Pores Through WebCam Pictures

Back in James Clapper’s very first attempt to dismiss his lies to Ron Wyden, he said,

“What I said was, the NSA does not voyeuristically pore through U.S. citizens’ e-mails. I stand by that,” Clapper told National Journal in a telephone interview.

Apparently, however, NSA’s partner goes one step beyond that, with NSA”s assistance: GCHQ pores through bulk collected webcam photos, including those of US persons, of Yahoo’s users.

Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

This includes the 3 to 11% of images that show nudity.

Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: “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.”

The document estimates that between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains “undesirable nudity”.

Given past discussions of circumcision in regards to terrorist suspects, it’s only a matter of time before GCHQ defends its nudity stash because such evidence can be proof of radicalization (heh). Plus, we already know that NSA and GCHQ like to use targets’ online porn habits to discredit them.

Coming soon to an “oversight” hearing near you: James Clapper refuses to talk about this invasion of an American company’s customers’ privacy because it occurs under EO 12333 and liaison partnerships, and therefore is not subject to Congressional oversight.

Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Reddit0Share on Facebook0Google+8Email to someone

10 Responses to NSA May Not Voyeuristically Pore Through Email But GCHQ Voyeuristically Pores Through WebCam Pictures

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Transparency for thee, but not for me? http://t.co/0FNdj5ECsB via @joshgerstein with a nice channeling of Nat Hentoff
52sreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dougsinsbca @Gaius_Publius @nakedcapitalism @mattkbh She does not owe anybody any further explanation whatsoever.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @davidw76 Well, okay, cool then. But they are not seriously taking any action against Williams and Claire though are they?
4mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz This is an egregious breach of 1st Amend RT @michaelbkiefer Judge refuses to stop blocking access to Jodi Arias trial http://t.co/zV785mEvWM
21mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @Javakev Hey, it wasn't me who led people on as to what they could+would do, that was the DOJ and Holder themselves.
33mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @PGEddington: Good discussion last night with @emptywheel on Virtually Speaking re: surveillance state. Check it out: http://t.co/e6Ufc5
41mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV The bartender is a dancing banana. And I haven't started drinking yet.
41mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @twitter Crikey, gimme the old Moe back!
43mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @JeffreyToobin Math is hard! So is science for many governors apparently.
44mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @ScottGreenfield @LilianaSegura @roomfordebate I would have scowled at the very question. Which is exactly what it deserves.
52mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @michaelbkiefer Will; Bodney dile an immediate special action?
53mreplyretweetfavorite
February 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jan   Mar »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728