It has been uncovered that 1.8 unsuspecting yahoo webcam users had been victim to having still-photos taken by a British Surveillance agency through webcams, unbeknownst to yahoo or the users. What is more, the people being targeted were seemingly chosen randomly. You’d think that a security surveillance team would choose to check in on individuals suspected of some kind of wrong-doing, but this is not the case here.
This story just keeps getting worse, so read on. The British Surveillance Agency named GCHQ even had aid from the US National Security Agency in this project, code named “Optic Nerve”. Of the millions of photos taken, a bulk of them were still-photos taken of sexually explicit content and communications. What such photos could possibly have to do with Britain’s security goes beyond any form of logic or common sense.
These millions of photos can be viewed and analyzed by any part of the GCHQ staff. The company reportedly does not even have the means to ensure that the photos are not stolen and stored onto other systems. If you were wondering how legal this is, according the UK law, it is. There is no law that forbids British analysts from accessing and viewing the photos.
I don’t know about you, but hearing about this made me feel pretty icky and unsafe. This is a violation of privacy at its worst. Yahoo, having not known, responded angrily in much the same way I imagine most Americans would.