GCHQ AND NSA ACCUSED OF COLLECTING WEBCAM IMAGES – Millions of innocent internet users might now be at risk of having their private webcam chats and images stolen as the GCHQ and NSA are being accused to collecting webcam images; some of which are highly explicit in nature.
According to reports, spy agencies have been intercepting streamed webcam chats from the likes of Yahoo and storing their images using a surveillance programme codenamed Optic Nerve.
It is believed that in one six month period alone during 2008 the intelligence agencies managed to capture and stores over 1.8 million images just from Yahoo users alone; this was despite the fact that the vast majority were not considered terror suspects.
Once again this leaves citizens wondering how many privacy laws the UK and U.S Government will continue to violate under the disguise of the ‘war on terror’.
A Government should fear its people, not the people fearing its Government but that historical ideology is fast eroding as Governments continue to invade our privacy.
This latest revelation comes from yet another batch of files published by whistleblower Edward Snowden and whilst the U.S Government continues to call him a traitor it is becoming increasingly evident that it is indeed the Government who is betraying the people.
These documents reveal that up to 11% of the images stored by GCHQ and NSA contain what is being referred to as ‘undesirable nudity’; in other words private acts between two or more consenting adults and therefore no such act should ever be considered ‘undesirable’.
Critics last night branded the Optic Nerve a disturbing brand of so-called intelligence gathering which doesn’t just target known terrorists but indeed an entire population.
Originally GCHQ and the NSA intended the surveillance program Optic Nerve to be used in an automated facial recognition system in order to help locate terror suspects but it is now clear from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden that GCHQ and the NSA are simply gathering images carte blanche across the internet.
The revelation was met with a furious response from Yahoo last night whose position in online search and media has been slipping in successive years. Yahoo told The Guardian that it was not aware of, nor would it condone, this reported activity.
Once again the online corporate giants, such as Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and Google will be viewed with suspicion from its users as they are no longer assured of privacy if the GCHQ and the NSA are able to tap into their systems without their knowledge or consent.
If this latest intrusion into our privacy is in fact accurate then the U.S and British Government’s spy agencies have upped the stakes regarding the level of violation to users’ privacy.
It is and will remain completely unacceptable and maybe it’s time that Edward Snowden released more of the documents so that finally members of the public can see the full picture of how our Governments are using our private information in the hopes of using it against us.
“This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world’s governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December” Yahoo spokesman
The exposure of these documents is likely to damage Yahoo’s credibility, that is allowing users to utilise their social systems knowing that such remains private.
It is a fact that the social media giants continue to request more and more personal information from its users’; some say this is to enable the companies to better target advertising however, privacy advocates are increasingly concerned that these companies may well be in collusion with GCHQ and the NSA in order to spy on our every move.