Britain’s Spy Agency Intercepted So Much Webcam Porn That It Didn’t Know How To Cope

GCHQ intercepted millions of Yahoo webcams, according to Guardian. And found itself with a major porn problem.

1. Britain’s GCHQ spy agency intercepted at least 1.8 million Yahoo webcam conversations during 2008, according to new documents released by the Guardian.

Asim18 / Wikimedia Commons

The agency captured screenshots every five minutes as part of an untargeted mass surveillance programme entitled ‘Optic Nerve’ that was run with assistance from the National Security Agency. The revelations were included in documents handed to the newspaper by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

3. But in the process the spies inadvertently also captured an awful lot of pornography. The documents suggest that this really concerned the surprisingly prudish bosses at the intelligence agency.

The Guardian / Via theguardian.com

“It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person,” read one concerned note.

“Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be use for broadcasting pornography.”

Someone in GCHQ was despatched to analyse a random selection of images and found that 7.1% of Yahoo webcam conversations intercepted by the agency contained nudity.

4. A page from an internal GCHQ guide warns intelligence workers not to delver into the Yahoo webcam files unless they are able to cope with a lot of pictures of erect penises.

The Guardian / Via theguardian.com

5. In short, if you used Yahoo Messenger to expose yourself on a webcam in the late 2000s then there’s a chance those pictures are on a spy agency server somewhere.


And in the process you may have upset an intelligence analyst.

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