NSA’s scandals continue to pile up.
According to The Guardian, the U.S. National Security Agency along with Britain’s surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters have intercepted and collected webcam images captured from millions of Internet users in bulk between 2008 and 2010. It has been discovered that the data, which was indiscriminately gathered from users that were not necessarily suspected of any wrongdoing, has been stored in agency databases for years.
The report shows that in a six-month period in 2008, data from 1.8 million users that were not under suspicion of having committed any crimes was collected and stored by both agencies.
A reportedly substantial amount of sexually explicit communications has been stored as well, making it hard for either of the agencies to use the terrorism excuse to back claims that the gathering of this type of material was essential to the success of surveillance programs. Secret documents indicate that between 3 to 11 percent of the imagery material was sexually explicit content.
The program known as Optic Nerve was designed to snap screenshots every 5 minutes from hacked Yahoo user feeds amounting to a massive amount of imagery data. Users from around the world were affected.
Here’s an actual quote from the secret documents: “unfortunately, it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.”