Industry News

GCHQ Intercepts Images in Bulk from Yahoo Webcam Users

Millions of Yahoo webcam users have had their images intercepted and stored in bulk by Britain’s GCHQ agency during the surveillance program dubbed Optic Nerve, according to The Guardian. The NSA aided the interception and storing of millions webcam images, the secret documents show

The Optic Nerve program is alleged to have started in 2008 and collected Yahoo webcam images from more than 1.8 million users in a six-month period alone.

GCHQ Intercepts Images in Bulk from Yahoo Webcam Users

“A report on the development of OPTIC Nerve – a web interface to display Yahoo Webcam images sampled from unselected intercept and a system for proportionate target discovery,” said the report.

Apparently analysts were limited to metadata of the interceptions, meaning a restricted access to bulk data. Yet analysts were able to see the faces of people with usernames that were similar to the surveillance target, possibly dragging in innocent people.

Also, about 7 per cent of images displayed nudity or pornographic content.

Yahoo denied knowledge of the program and reacted furiously when hearing about it, denouncing GCHQ’s program as: “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy.”

About the author

Lucian Ciolacu

Still the youngest Bitdefender News writer, Lucian is constantly after flash news in the security industry, especially when something is vulnerable or exploited. Besides digging for 'hacker' scoops and data leaks, he enjoys sports, such as football and tennis.
He has also combined an interest for social and political sciences, as a graduate of the Political Science Faculty, with a passion for guitar and computer games.