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.

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

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV But I made it home okay. In unrelated news, I plan to sleep for the next 36 hours. Okay. It's related...
JimWhiteGNV Stress: When you are getting on a 7 mile long bridge and notice "Check Engine" light is on. With 140 miles to drive home AFTER the bridge.
bmaz @JamesPMorrison No, but I have that sensation all the time it seems. So much stuff going on....
bmaz @JamesPMorrison @ktm_film I responded to @sarasidnerCNN who had responded to @deray https://t.co/ix7uhZoA55
bmaz @APribetic I am a sucker for this!
bmaz @pourmecoffee Dang, gonna need a new personal jet....
bmaz watching a baby faced Liam Neeson and an already craggy Clint snarl in The Dead Pool is kind of awesome.
bmaz @JamesPMorrison Jeebus, there really is a stunning difference, irrespective of the lame commentary by @sarasidnerCNN
bmaz RT @JamesPMorrison: Two Videos of the Same Arrest in Baltimore Shows How MSM Does Not Give You the Whole Truth http://t.co/pZTKLM8uE9
bmaz @ScottGreenfield @btannebaum I dunno, I think you ought to give @IdleNitwit a chance. I mean she is from Sarah Lawrence and all.
bmaz @dannowicki @ejmontini Heh, I read Ed's piece+saw that! Still, I am a born+raised Dem here+never heard of him. Just saying, not promising.
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