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GCHQ Intercepted Webcam Images of Millions of Yahoo Users 137

An anonymous reader writes with more chilling news from the Snowden files. Quoting the Guardian: "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. ... The system, eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell's 1984, was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, to monitor GCHQ's existing targets, and to discover new targets of interest. Such searches could be used to try to find terror suspects or criminals making use of multiple, anonymous user IDs." Remember, friends don't video conference with friends unless they're using SIP and TLS.
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GCHQ Intercepted Webcam Images of Millions of Yahoo Users

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  • Blackmail pool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BSAtHome ( 455370 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:47PM (#46360539)

    Unfortunately, now they have a very nice pool of information/images to blackmail the persons(s) displayed. What a treasure that must be for the agencies. How better control the populous than dirty tricks.

    Maybe we should start collecting the like info on the agencies?

  • by zerosomething ( 1353609 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:50PM (#46360587) Homepage
    How is it that the home country of the author of 1984 just doesn't get it? How is it they are letting this kind of thing go on? It's truly amazing and sad!
  • Re:Blackmail pool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by noh8rz10 ( 2716597 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:58PM (#46360701)

    Doesn't matter. I bet gchq and NSA are super stoked about google glass.

  • Re:Blackmail pool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @02:59PM (#46360727) Journal
    There will be one potential issue: Did they score some sweet, sweet, incriminating footage of Inconvenient Politician confessing his love of grits wrasslin' and anal twincest? Yeah, probably. However, it doesn't take a PhD in teenagerology to suspect that Her Majesty's Wiretapping Crew are now sitting on one of the largest collections of illegal kiddie porn on the planet. And the kiddies are, on the whole, the unsuspecting children of the taxpayers of the UK. If the British tabloid press is anything to go by, they like (non clerical) pedos even less than we do on this side of the pond.

    As much fun as it will be to...encourage...an MP or two to take a more understanding position (just like somebody other than his wife did, and we have pictures, hint hint), I wouldn't really want to be on the receiving end of the entire population of the UK suspecting that I'm hoarding kiddie porn based on their children. If the black-bag crew are really unlucky, whatever 'license to do whatever the fuck you want, because terroristsOMG!!!' law(s) and set of interpretations may not even have considered an idea this audacious. As much as Clapper is a lying fuckwad, his 'Oh, mere metadata' driven sounds convincing, if you don't know what metadata are, or how useful they are. "Yup, hot, definitely not yet legal, naked pictures of your innocent children", by contrast, isn't even good PR, no matter how you spin it.
  • by noh8rz10 ( 2716597 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:00PM (#46360743)

    NSA brought gchq in on. This because the y couldn't do it themselves (5th amendment etc.). So they have gchq do the dirty work and then gchq shares the intelligence. Welcome to the new USA.

  • Aaaaaand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:06PM (#46360825)
    That's why I have my webcams taped over when not in use. Who's crazy now??1!?
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:08PM (#46360857) Homepage

    How is it that the home country of the author of 1984 just doesn't get it?

    They've been treating it as a manual, instead of as a warning.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:11PM (#46360887)

    How is it that the home country of the author of 1984 just doesn't get it?

    Plenty of us get it. Please remember that at no point did the general population of the UK ask for, support or condone this kind of behaviour, nor most of the other dubious things we've been hearing about lately that have supposedly been done in our name or for our protection.

    Also, the previous administration went from being elected on a technicality with a heavy majority of the population not supporting them to having a leader who everyone was promised at the election wouldn't take over if they voted for the party in question. And obviously nobody directly elected the current coalition administration, which doesn't even seem to be able to honour what it said it would do in the coalition agreement upon which it was founded consistently, never mind what was in the manifestos of the two constituent parties that people actually voted for.

    The last time we actually had anything resembling a government with a mandate in this country was nearly a decade ago, and they were the guys who then went to war, despite literally millions of people marching in the street to protest the decision, based on little more than trumped up rhetoric that proved to be every bit as made up as most of us always assumed it was.

    How is it they are letting this kind of thing go on?

    We demonstrably don't live in an effectively functioning democracy, by any credible definition of the term. Unfortunately, the political class have got very good at playing the game by the rules that currently exist and go to great lengths to avoid allowing those rules to change. Short of actually bringing down the government and replacing the system, hopefully in a non-violent way, this seems unlikely to change any time soon.

    As long as we have that limited system, a handful of big issues will inevitably dominate the one vote we get every five years or so, and there are way too many people who are (reasonably enough) more concerned with things like not having their homes flooded or whether they can get their kids into a good school or whether the grandparents will get proper treatment if they have to go into hospital for those of us who also consider points of principle when voting to have a significant impact.

  • Re:Aaaaaand (Score:5, Insightful)

    by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:17PM (#46360953)
    ... but they would monitor your video connection when the camera *IS* in use.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:23PM (#46361027) Homepage

    And, in fairness, you can ask how the home country of The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution could also be going down the same road.

    This isn't limited to the Brits.

  • Where to start? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @03:57PM (#46361359) Homepage

    Okay people, start listing your favourite video chat applications that support SIP and TLS, and why you use them.


"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI