Are you using Yahoo Messenger? Are you using it for, you know, insalubrious "late night fun"? Sorry to break it to you, but GCHQ has totally seen you naked.
The British spy agency intercepted and stored text and images from millions of Yahoo video chats, according to a Guardian report on the latest Snowden leaks. That includes the chat logs of both American and British citizens, as well as adult material that was transmitted via webcam. In fact, between 3% and 11% of all the webcam material harvested by GCHQ was deemed to contain "undesirable nudity". (Which makes you wonder what the agency's idea of desirable nudity is – maybe the kind you can use to blackmail people?)
As one of the leaked GCHQ documents puts 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." Camgirls of the world: GCHQ has been ripping you off.
Codenamed Optic Nerve, the operation saved images to GCHQ databases, regardless of whether individual users were suspected of wrongdoing. In a single six-month period alone, more than 1.8million users were monitored. Some were targeted for the simple crime of having a Yahoo username that resembled that of a terror suspect. The system also used automated facial recognition to track their targets, flagging up new targets of interest when they appeared online.
Apparently Yahoo had no idea this was even happening, and lawyers have already warned that a "huge swath" of GCHQ spying is illegal and in breach of human rights and surveillance laws. So now, not only is Britain one of the most-watched nations on CCTV, you can't even hide in your room and get freaky online.
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