Friday, February 28, 2014

Big Brother is watching you

The latest NSALeak: GCHQ is Big Brother, and is using your webcam to watch you:

Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

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.

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.

This is mass-surveillance at its worst - intrusive, untargeted and ubiquitious. It is a mass-invasion of the privacy of internet users. And for what? In the hope that they'd spot a suspected terrorist sitting in front of a computer. Instead, what they got was lots and lots of porn (something they were apparently shocked by - do they know nothing about the internet?).

(Note that while the program ran until 2010, this doesn't mean we're safe - the document noted that it was "shortly to return!" so they could be perving at everyone through their webcams right now)

Could there be a clearer signal that spies are lawless, and incompatible with our privacy and our freedom? We need to vote them out. Cut their budgets, sack their staff, smash their toys, shut them down. Or, find ourselves being watched in our own homes, 24/7.