Yahoo Slams British Spy Agency That Allegedly Snapped Up Webcam Images
The program, code-named Optic Nerve, includes still images from Yahoo webcam chats from 2008 to 2010. In a one-month period in 2008, images from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts, regardless of whether individuals were suspects or not, were collected. Much of it was sexually explicit, the newspaper reports.
American politicians reacted angrily to the news. “We are extremely troubled by today’s press report that a very large number of individuals — including law-abiding Americans — may have had private videos of themselves and their families intercepted and stored without any suspicion of wrongdoing,” Senators Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon, Mark Udall (D) of Colorado, and Martin Heinrich (D) of New Mexico said in a joint statement published by the AFP. “If this report is accurate, it would show a breathtaking lack of respect for the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens.”
“It is becoming clearer and clearer that more needs to be done to ensure that ‘foreign’ intelligence collection does not intrude unnecessarily on the rights of law-abiding people or needlessly undermine the competitiveness of America’s leading industries,” the senators added.
The revelations have also prompted anger from Europe. Digital Rights Ireland chairman TJ McIntyre told the Irish Times that the documents highlight “in a vivid way the complaints we and other groups have been saying for a long time about indiscriminate mass surveillance,” he said. “It illustrates how governments - including the Irish Government - have become wedded to monitoring everyone’s communications at all times.”