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
bmaz I am going to get @csoghoian a pony.
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bmaz @chrislhayes Perhaps you could ask where the WPR notification is for that military action?
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bmaz Did I miss the WPR letter for military activity in the sovereign state of Syria without their permission?
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emptywheel Y'all can debate what to call it. But I refuse to call it anything that doesn't have a 3.0 in the name.
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emptywheel @dispositive Proper Oberon season is over!
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bmaz @Will_Bunch yes yes, but it's going to work this time. Really!
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bmaz @JasonLeopold "FBI continues to try to silence Samir Khan despite the First Amendment"
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emptywheel Guess we gotta call it Greater Iraq War 3.0 now.
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emptywheel @Atrios Day Senate Approved $500M for War in Syria, UN Announced $352M Funding Shortfall for Feeding Syrian Refugees http://t.co/cgReRWmaCu
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emptywheel @phillipanderson Remember when Lieutenant Kerry fought the Cambodian campaign?
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emptywheel FTFY RT @zfurnas: @emptywheel A2 (except the Jug) is getting pretty chichi @ddayen @bmaz @steveglista
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emptywheel @zfurnas Heard about it, haven't been. @ddayen @bmaz @steveglista
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