back to article UK spies on MILLIONS of Yahoo! webcams, ogles sex vids - report

British spies allegedly intercepted and stored nude pics and other stills from millions of Yahoo! Messenger webcams – and mulled capturing snaps from the XBox's Kinect camera, too. The UK intelligence agency GCHQ started slurping photos from innocent netizens' camera feeds in 2008, The Guardian reported today. In just one six- …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Underage nudie pics?

    In just one six-month period, pics from 1.8 million Yahoo! users were pulled into government servers.

    So how many of those nude pics were of minors? Ah the perverted GCHQ, at least now we know where all those pedi's are getting their pics from!

    1. channel extended
      Windows

      Re: Underage nudie pics?

      The kiddy porn people all LOVE GCHQ!

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Underage nudie pics?

      "optic nerve" is rhyming slang for "perv".

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: AC Re: Underage nudie pics?

      "....at least now we know where all those pedi's are getting their pics from!" Yes, from Yahoo! Messenger webcam sessions, most probably.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Government Creeps Hiding from Questions

      Other words fit too. Compared to the fine work done during the war at Bletchley Park this sort of thing is a sick, despicable insult to the nation, legal or not.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Underage nudie pics?

      So how many of those nude pics were of minors? Ah the perverted GCHQ, at least now we know where all those pedi's are getting their pics from!

      Not many depending on the population of US immigrants, although the amount of British children that have is probably through the roof.

    6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Underage nudie pics?

      "So how many of those nude pics were of minors? Ah the perverted GCHQ, at least now we know where all those pedi's are getting their pics from!"

      And remember kiddies the UK CP laws are possession. There are no "extenuating circumstances."

      Anyone at GCHQ who has seen them is therefor liable for an entry in another govt database. The SOR.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Users who may feel uncomfortable about such material ...."

    Odd concern, there : I would have thought anyone who was quite comfortable about spying on innocent members of the public in such an intimate way would not worry too much about seeing a bit of nudity.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Users who may feel uncomfortable about such material ...."

      Especially when they see a cunt each time they look in the mirror.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Users who may feel uncomfortable about such material ...."

        Aw come on, that's a little unfair to cunts.

  3. Someone Else Silver badge
    Coat

    Translation:

    "Furthermore, all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, blah, blah, blah rigorous oversight, yackety-smackety secretary of yammer, yammer interception and blah, blah, blah and the Parliamentary mumble mumble...Hey, lookee here! Tits!!!!."

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Translation:

      Or GCHQ could just be lying.

      I'd like to see the legislation that says it's fine to collect pictures of naked adults, and probably naked kids too.

      1. Lyndon Hills 1

        Re: Translation:

        We don't normally have laws like that, in the UK. For example there is no law that says you _can_ keep a poodle, but there are laws that say you _can't_ keep various types of pit bull.

        Collecting pictures of naked adults is not illegal (excepting what might be covered by extreme porn laws). Pictures of naked kids, that are not your own, is more likely illegal - dunno for sure, but you'd need to look at the full statute to see if there are exemptions for the security services. Intercepting communications is illegal, but there is definitely an exemption for the security services.

        1. henrydddd

          Re: Translation:

          "Collecting pictures of naked adults is not illegal " with the consent of the adult, otherwise, it is voyeurism which is a crime. There is no difference between this garbage and a toilet cam. However; courts seem to justify this activity on the basis that "people have no expectation of privacy when the government is spying on them".

          Whether it is adults or children, considering the morality and mentality of the spies looking at these pictures, it is probably considered a fringe benefit of their job. Why haven't the people risen up against this junk?

      2. JohnG Silver badge

        Re: Translation:

        "I'd like to see the legislation that says it's fine to collect pictures of naked adults, and probably naked kids too."

        Typical get out clauses are "in the interests of national security", "exemption in service of the Crown" or "prosecution not in the public interest".

    2. Lyndon Hills 1

      Re: Translation:

      Yeah, the problem is not that they're breaking the law - they're probably not. The problem is the law that says they're allowed to do this.

      1. Oninoshiko
        Childcatcher

        Re: Translation:

        thought child pornography was always a crime to posses, no matter how you received it. I think we need a investigation!

        1. Graham Marsden

          @Oninoshiko Re: Translation:

          > thought child pornography was always a crime to posses, no matter how you received it

          Sexual Offences Act 2003:

          * * * * *

          46 Criminal proceedings, investigations etc.

          (1)After section 1A of the Protection of Children Act 1978 (c. 37) insert—

          “1BException for criminal proceedings, investigations etc.

          (1)In proceedings for an offence under section 1(1)(a) of making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, the defendant is not guilty of the offence if he proves that—

          (a)it was necessary for him to make the photograph or pseudo-photograph for the purposes of the prevention, detection or investigation of crime, or for the purposes of criminal proceedings, in any part of the world,

          (b)at the time of the offence charged he was a member of the Security Service, and it was necessary for him to make the photograph or pseudo-photograph for the exercise of any of the functions of the Service, or

          (c)at the time of the offence charged he was a member of GCHQ, and it was necessary for him to make the photograph or pseudo-photograph for the exercise of any of the functions of GCHQ.

          * * * * *

          Of course the "necessity" here is the prevention of terrerism...

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Number6

              Re: @Graham Marsden

              Enough people are starting to question all of this activity. I guess it's a form of revenge if everyone starts declaring GCHQ people to be a pervs based on bits of news like this.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Translation:

      "Hey, lookee here! Tits!!!!"

      Nope; that's not the body part(s) in question; they deemed it to be 'undesirable nudity', remember?

      On the other hand*, research into penile recognition technology should now get an unexpected infusion of Government cash (and another use for those airport full-body scanners too)

      *or in the other hand. YMMV.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Translation:

      It would be interesting to know if other crimes were sent on the police, e.g. Having a Cannabis growing room, or pulling tags off shoplifted items etc.

      If so then having constant monitoring of people for crimes 'against the government' has major similarities to George Orwell's book.

      It wasn't too long ago that 1984 seemed like an outlandish idea with a nudge towards truth. Now it feels like you don't have to be a tin-foil hat wearer to see major parts of it are already upon us, with little in the way of opposition.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Translation:

        The major problem was down to the fact that due to the National Curriculum dumbing down, most of NuLab thought that 1984 was a user manual.

      2. Blitterbug
        Big Brother

        Re: Translation:

        Agree with the Orwellian (though rather obvious) comparisons being made in this thread. But what I want to know is: Who the fuck keeps DVing these perfectly reasonable expressions of disgust and outrage? I'm quite sure the culprits aren't about to provide any open support of this hideous behaviour in these forums - at least, not under their real handle - so I guess a sneaky DV for any 'subversive' comments is the only way they can safely suck up to our Lords and Masters.

    6. MrXavia

      Re: Translation:

      Copyright infringement? surely ALL yahoo chat users can now sue the government for copyright infringement? unfortunately its only a civil offence, but still worth pursuing...

      Also it is breach of human rights act, article 8,unless they can prove it is necessary in a democratic society..

      Although I think section 2 exemptions a bit over reaching, it has a 'morals' exemption...

      Who the hell are the government to be allowed to determine what is moral!

    7. David 45

      Re: Translation:

      Yup - their boiler-plate statement in response to virtually anything and everything that's thrown at them is getting more than a little tiresome. We need a UK equivalent of Snowden here to get the real deal as to what they're actually up to, although it doesn't take too much guesswork to fathom.

  4. mrtom84

    "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen...

    1. MrT

      Eurythmics....

      ...now playing in my head ;-)

  5. Helstrom
    Meh

    "Undesirable nudity"...

    Any word on what percentage of intercepts were desirable nudity?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Undesirable nudity"...

      17% apparently.

      I expected more.

      By the way people screaming murder about yahoo encrypting traffic should not forget just how old yahoo chat is. It dates from the days when the PC _COULD_ _NOT_ encode a video stream and encrypt it at the same time.

      Now the fact that they did not update that over time is reprehensible. However, the fact that it was not encrypted day one is quite understandable.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: "Undesirable nudity"...

        That just means the remaining nudity was desirable. Apparently even spooks draw the line somewhere.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "Undesirable nudity"...

      ...between three and 11 per cent of the obtained Yahoo! webcam pics contained "undesirable nudity".

      Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person

      Which comes as a surprise only in that the number was commonly thought to be much higher.

      // undesirable...to whom?

      // Paris...because

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "Undesirable nudity"...

      Number of people hospitalised because of weight triples in five years. The Guardian, February 20 2013

      “Spiralling out of control": Now 1 in 10 kids clinically obese by the time they start primary school. Daily Mirror, February 20 2013

      1. Sooty

        Re: "Undesirable nudity"...

        just picture all those 'silver surfers'

        or maybe not in this case

  6. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    How safe are Jonny Foreigners?

    The leaks imply that GCHQ spies were confined to the UK. How would that work?

    1. proto-robbie
      Terminator

      Re: How safe are Jonny Foreigners?

      Spying on the citizens hasn't been outsourced yet. It's sure to go soon though, along with the police, armed forces and the ambulance service.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How safe are Jonny Foreigners?

        just wait for OCP to get involved in the outsourcing...

  7. RobHib
    Devil

    As I said earlier post today, the surveillance seems to be here indefinitely, and it will continue as long as citizens allow it to happen. And noise from a few commentards and libertarians won't change anything in the current political climate.

    It seems to me the only way to have the surveillance thwarted would be a public outcry of the order of the 1960s anti Vietnam War demonstrations with riots in the streets--i.e.: politicians and government officials would have to feel unsafe--but in the current political climate, Hell's likely to freeze over first.

    In my opinion, the only way to effectively thwart the surveillance is to adopt Bruce Schneier 's suggestion of using good encryption.

    If everyone used good encryption we wouldn't stop the NSA or GCHQ but we'd certainly render their effectiveness by orders of magnitude.

    1. Jess--

      Good luck trying to organise that without it being picked up by the very surveillance that you intend to protest against.

      1. RobHib
        Unhappy

        @Jess--

        Correct, but as I said it's not going to happen. Whilst citizens are disillusioned with their democracies, they've little or no appetite to do anything about it. Moreover, there's only a tiny percentage of the population like us whingeing El Reg readers who'll even bother to comment about it.

        In earlier posts I mentioned what citizens did in the past when pushed beyond reasonable bounds by their governments but I'm not advocating that path for a moment.

        Americans would probably argue that 1776 was a good idea, but in general revolutions are terrible idea—many people are killed. What happened in France in 1789 and in Russia in 1917 was terrible and the consequences of these events still echo around the world today.

        If I had the answer as to what citizens should do when their governments turn feral, authoritarian and secretive and stop acting in the best interests of the majority of their citizens—and elections cannot or do not solve these problems then I'd certainly not be sitting here now writing this.

  8. Fink-Nottle
    Paris Hilton

    As usual ...

    ... GCHQ go for the low-hanging fruit.

    1. sam bo

      Re: As usual ...

      " GCHQ go for the low-hanging fruit."

      You mean like a couple of figs ?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: As usual ...

        ..or grapes

  9. Swiss Anton

    Have some sympathy

    You've got to feel sorry for the spooks.

    I mean, when you read this story you probably had the image of some sexy young adult casually exposing their well toned body. The reality more likely to have been some flabby older person who's forgotten to zip their trousers up after having a waz.

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Gimp

    Translation

    "We could, so we did."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cue Matt Bryant's forceful explanation on how this is all necessary...

    ... and how we would've been blown to shreds by them terrorists long ago had it not been for the crucial intel tool that is Yahoo! Messenger! Intercept!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Cue Matt Bryant's forceful explanation on how this is all necessary...

      "... and how we would've been blown to shreds by them terrorists long ago had it not been for the crucial intel tool that is Yahoo! Messenger! Intercept!"

      You'll need to include some support for Israel and the superiority of HP Itanium servers as well.

      It's been a while since we've heard from Mattie boy.

      Do trolls go on holiday? Or has he crossed one line too many and got banned?

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Cue Matt Bryant's forceful explanation on how this is all necessary...

        John, you are very charitable calling Mattie Boy a troll. I think he actually believes his narcistic crap.

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