UK, US Spies Stored Millions of Yahoo Webcam Images: Report
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US senators said British and US spy agencies showed a "breathtaking lack of respect" for privacy after reports said they had intercepted and stored images from webcams used by millions of Yahoo users.
Files from Britain's communications spy agency GCHQ leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed how the Optic Nerve program collected still images of webcam chats regardless of whether individual users were suspects or not, the Guardian newspaper reported.
In one six-month period in 2008, the British spy agency collected webcam imagery from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts around the world, the Guardian said.
"We are extremely troubled by today's press report that a very large number of individuals, including law-abiding Americans, may have had private videos of themselves and their families intercepted and stored without any suspicion of wrongdoing," Democratic US Senators Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich said in a joint statement.
"If this report is accurate, it would show a breathtaking lack of respect for the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens."
They promised to investigate the activity as part of an ongoing comprehensive review of surveillance programs, with close scrutiny to any role US agencies may have played, AFP reported.
"It is becoming clearer and clearer that more needs to be done to ensure that 'foreign' intelligence collection does not intrude unnecessarily on the rights of law-abiding people or needlessly undermine the competitiveness of America's leading industries," the senators added.
Yahoo, which was apparently chosen because its webcam system was known to be used by GCHQ targets, expressed outrage at the reported surveillance.