As of this writing, it remains unclear as to just how many Yahoo users were simultaneously tracked by the GCHQ's five-minute interval screenshot method.Any Internet data flowing through those fiber optic cables, if not encrypted, can be intercepted in the same way.Regarding the explicit material, the documents show that between 3 and 11 percent of all imagery collected contained so-called “undesirable nudity,” and that filtering out said material posed a problem.
A large number of those images were, unsurprisingly, naked pictures taken from sexually explicit webcam sessions. And how worried should you be that something like this might happen again?
doesn't provide much in the way of technical details, and the original documents the report is based on have not been released.
First of all, it's important to clarify that the GCHQ is not accused of hacking into computers and intercepting webcam feeds directly from the machines of Yahoo users, like hackers can by installing RAT (Remote Access Tool) malware on a victim's laptop or PC.
Furthermore, the GCHQ did not need Yahoo's cooperation to execute its webcam spying project.
It’s hard to say anymore if this is the most egregious violation of privacy revealed under leaked documents detailing government espionage of digital sources, but capturing nude and sexual images from unsuspecting users not aware they’re being targeted, and not being targeted for any reason in particular, is definitely right up there.
The so-called ‘Optic Nerve’ program is detailed in GCHQ files that span between 20 leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and also reveal that the NSA benefitted from the program, and its research helped identify Yahoo webcam network activity, The Guardian reports.
Imagery was saved from webcam feeds only once every five minutes, in an effort to avoid violating human rights laws and to minimize server load, The GCHQ, however, isn’t technically able to make sure no UK or US resident images are collected and stores, and UK law doesn’t prevent specific imagery of individuals from partner nations including Australia, New Zealand and Canada being accessed by individual analysts at any time.
Yahoo strongly denies any prior knowledge of the existence of the program, according to The Guardian, and in fact was characterized as being outraged with the fresh reports of violations of its customers’ privacy.
See, their highly-trained operatives had heard that a “webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets.” Clearly, that’s all the justification that’s needed to begin capturing private digital video transmissions in the 21st century.