Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson
The British spy agency GCHQ, with help from the NSA, intercepted millions of Yahoo webcam chats and was surprised to find that about 7 percent included “undesirable nudity.”
The spy program, called “Optic Nerve,” was revealed in documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and was reported today by 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 Guardian reported. “In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery—including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications—from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.”