Yahoo furious over allegations of GCHQ spying

UK spy agency reportedly intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of users

Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 16:36

Internet giant Yahoo has branded claims that UK spy agency GCHQ intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of users as a “whole new level of violation”.

In its latest report on files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Guardian newspaper claims a surveillance programme operated by GCHQ, with aid from America’s National Security Agency (NSA), collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk.

Codenamed Optic Nerve, the operation saved images to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were suspected of wrongdoing, the newspaper said.

In a furious reaction to the report, a Yahoo spokeswoman said: “We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity.

“This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world’s governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.

“We are committed to preserving our users’ trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services.”

GCHQ declined to comment on the claims.

PA