UK’s Spy Agency Obtained Millions of Webcam Images With Help From NSA

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Bell, 212-549-2666, media@aclu.org

UK’s Spy Agency Obtained Millions of Webcam Images With Help From NSA

WASHINGTON - With the assistance and apparent consent of the NSA, Britain’s spy agency GCHQ collected webcam images from the video chats of millions of innocent people, according to a report today by The Guardian. The dragnet surveillance program reportedly swept up the Yahoo video communications of many American and British citizens, and included sexually explicit images.

“This is a truly shocking revelation that underscores the importance of the debate on privacy now taking place and the reforms being considered,” said Alex Abdo, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. “In a world in which there is no technological barrier to pervasive surveillance, the scope of the government’s surveillance activities must be decided by the public, not secretive spy agencies interpreting secret legal authorities. This report also raises troubling questions about the NSA’s complicity in what is a massive and unprecedented violation of privacy. We need to know more about what the NSA knew, and what role it played.”

The article was based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, and said, “Webcam information was fed into NSA's XKeyscore search tool, and NSA research was used to build the tool which identified Yahoo's webcam traffic… It is not fully clear from the documents how much access the NSA has to the Yahoo webcam trove itself.”

This statement is online at:
aclu.org/national-security/uks-spy-agency-obtained-millions-webcam-images-help-nsa

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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