The revelations of Edward Snowden keep on coming. The Guardian reports on a hacking program of the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) codenamed Optic Nerve. The program intercepted Yahoo webcam chats collecting and storing images of millions of users, even when individual users were not suspected of wrongdoing.
The leaked documents revealed that GCHQ secret files date from 2008 till 2010 and in the first 6 months Optic Nerve collected the still images from 1.8 million users globally. One of the files estimated till 11% of the content categorised as "undesirable nudity”.
The system saved one still image every 5 minutes of video chat and stored them in databases. The documents indicated the use of face recognition software and search requests with automatic comparison matching Yahoo users to existing GCHQ targets
Yahoo furiously refused their relation to the program: “We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity”, accusing the surveillance agency of "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy."
The Guardian said the NSA officials declined using data collected by Optic Nerve. NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said - “the National Security Agency does not ask its foreign partners to undertake any intelligence activity that the US government would be legally prohibited from undertaking itself."