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 @TheBradBlog @billmon1 In some civil circumstances, yes, but very far from all. As to criminal, the remedy is pretty much political.
56mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @stephenlemons @FredDuVal Just saw independent as, presumably dark funded, on Duval "releasing terrorists". Pukeworthy.
1hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @erinscafe The furry picture should lead all reports though.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Ooof. Hope you have enough coffee and/or bourbon.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Sure. But that is exactly why the patina of "legality" is so illusory in this discussion.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog And that applies to torture, extrajudicial killing, banksters, illegal surveillance, and a whole host of issues.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog The problem, as with so much is the political acts that beget such use/nonuse of discretion.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @billmon1 @TheBradBlog Right. Failure to prosecute/hold accountable for Senate incursion is technically legal as prosecutorial discretion.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @WSJ: At 79, Jerry Lee Lewis just released his 41st studio album. Listen here: http://t.co/rAJMtCwvpX http://t.co/IVJYFJ10VM
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @AntonioFrench: Bob McCulloch and Attorney General Holder should be launching investigations into who is leaking this info. Police? Atto…
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @mtracey @billmon1 As SSCI Chair, it was her duty to make the case, and she did, lack of vocal support from others, and non-SSCI depressing
2hreplyretweetfavorite
February 2014
S M T W T F S
« Jan   Mar »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
232425262728