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Author Topic: Webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ  (Read 2851 times)

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Pez

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Webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ
« on: 28. February 2014., 05:26:48 »
Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ

  • Optic Nerve program collected Yahoo webcam images in bulk
  • 1.8m users targeted by UK agency in six-month period alone
  • Yahoo: 'A whole new level of violation of our users' privacy'
  • Material included large quantity of sexually explicit images



The GCHQ program saved one image every five minutes from the users' feeds. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy".

GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of UK or US citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under UK law to prevent Americans' images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant.

The documents also chronicle GCHQ's sustained struggle to keep the large store of sexually explicit imagery collected by Optic Nerve away from the eyes of its staff, though there is little discussion about the privacy implications of storing this material in the first place.



"click the images to make them larger"

Optic Nerve, the documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show, began as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012, according to an internal GCHQ wiki page accessed that year.

The system, eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell's 1984, was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, to monitor GCHQ's existing targets, and to discover new targets of interest. Such searches could be used to try to find terror suspects or criminals making use of multiple, anonymous user IDs.

Rather than collecting webcam chats in their entirety, the program saved one image every five minutes from the users' feeds, partly to comply with human rights legislation, and also to avoid overloading GCHQ's servers. The documents describe these users as "unselected" – intelligence agency parlance for bulk rather than targeted collection.

One document even likened the program's "bulk access to Yahoo webcam images/events" to a massive digital police mugbook of previously arrested individuals.

"Face detection has the potential to aid selection of useful images for 'mugshots' or even for face recognition by assessing the angle of the face," it reads. "The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright."

The agency did make efforts to limit analysts' ability to see webcam images, restricting bulk searches to metadata only.

However, analysts were shown the faces of people with similar usernames to surveillance targets, potentially dragging in large numbers of innocent people. One document tells agency staff they were allowed to display "webcam images associated with similar Yahoo identifiers to your known target".

Optic Nerve was based on collecting information from GCHQ's huge network of internet cable taps, which was then processed and fed into systems provided by the NSA. 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.

Bulk surveillance on Yahoo users was begun, the documents said, because "Yahoo webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets".



Programs like Optic Nerve, which collect information in bulk from largely anonymous user IDs, are unable to filter out information from UK or US citizens. Unlike the NSA, GCHQ is not required by UK law to "minimize", or remove, domestic citizens' information from its databases. However, additional legal authorisations are required before analysts can search for the data of individuals likely to be in the British Isles at the time of the search.

There are no such legal safeguards for searches on people believed to be in the US or the other allied "Five Eyes" nations – Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

GCHQ insists all of its activities are necessary, proportionate, and in accordance with UK law.

The documents also show that GCHQ trialled automatic searches based on facial recognition technology, for people resembling existing GCHQ targets: "f you search for similar IDs to your target, you will be able to request automatic comparison of the face in the similar IDs to those in your target's ID".

The undated document, from GCHQ's internal wiki information site, noted this capability was "now closed … but shortly to return!"

The privacy risks of mass collection from video sources have long been known to the NSA and GCHQ, as a research document from the mid-2000s noted: "One of the greatest hindrances to exploiting video data is the fact that the vast majority of videos received have no intelligence value whatsoever, such as pornography, commercials, movie clips and family home movies."

Sexually explicit webcam material proved to be a particular problem for GCHQ, as one document delicately put it: "Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person. 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 used for broadcasting pornography."

The document estimates that between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contains "undesirable nudity". Discussing efforts to make the interface "safer to use", it noted that current "naïve" pornography detectors assessed the amount of flesh in any given shot, and so attracted lots of false positives by incorrectly tagging shots of people's faces as pornography.



GCHQ did not make any specific attempts to prevent the collection or storage of explicit images, the documents suggest, but did eventually compromise by excluding images in which software had not detected any faces from search results – a bid to prevent many of the lewd shots being seen by analysts.

The system was not perfect at stopping those images reaching the eyes of GCHQ staff, though. An internal guide cautioned prospective Optic Nerve users that "there is no perfect ability to censor material which may be offensive. Users who may feel uncomfortable about such material are advised not to open them".

It further notes that "under GCHQ's offensive material policy, the dissemination of offensive material is a disciplinary offence".



Once collected, the metadata associated with the videos can be as valuable to the intelligence agencies as the images themselves.

It is not fully clear from the documents how much access the NSA has to the Yahoo webcam trove itself, though all of the policy documents were available to NSA analysts through their routine information-sharing. A previously revealed NSA metadata repository, codenamed Marina, has what the documents describe as a protocol class for webcam information.

In its statement to the Guardian, Yahoo strongly condemned the Optic Nerve program, and said it had no awareness of or involvement with the GCHQ collection.

"We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity," said a spokeswoman. "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."

Yahoo has been one of the most outspoken technology companies objecting to the NSA's bulk surveillance. It filed a transparency lawsuit with the secret US surveillance court to disclose a 2007 case in which it was compelled to provide customer data to the surveillance agency, and it railed against the NSA's reported interception of information in transit between its data centers.

The documents do not refer to any specific court orders permitting collection of Yahoo's webcam imagery, but GCHQ mass collection is governed by the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, and requires certification by the foreign secretary, currently William Hague.

The Optic Nerve documentation shows legalities were being considered as new capabilities were being developed. Discussing adding automated facial matching, for example, analysts agreed to test a system before firming up its legal status for everyday use.

"It was agreed that the legalities of such a capability would be considered once it had been developed, but that the general principle applied would be that if the accuracy of the algorithm was such that it was useful to the analyst (ie, the number of spurious results was low, then it was likely to be proportionate)," the 2008 document reads.

The document continues: "This is allowed for research purposes but at the point where the results are shown to analysts for operational use, the proportionality and legality questions must be more carefully considered."

Optic Nerve was just one of a series of GCHQ efforts at biometric detection, whether for target recognition or general security.

While the documents do not detail efforts as widescale as those against Yahoo users, one presentation discusses with interest the potential and capabilities of the Xbox 360's Kinect camera, saying it generated "fairly normal webcam traffic" and was being evaluated as part of a wider program.

Documents previously revealed in the Guardian showed the NSA were exploring the video capabilities of game consoles for surveillance purposes.

Microsoft, the maker of Xbox, faced a privacy backlash last year when details emerged that the camera bundled with its new console, the Xbox One, would be always-on by default.

Beyond webcams and consoles, GCHQ and the NSA looked at building more detailed and accurate facial recognition tools, such as iris recognition cameras – "think Tom Cruise in Minority Report", one presentation noted.

The same presentation talks about the strange means the agencies used to try and test such systems, including whether they could be tricked. One way of testing this was to use contact lenses on detailed mannequins.

To this end, GCHQ has a dummy nicknamed "the Head", one document noted.

In a statement, a GCHQ spokesman said: "It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters.

"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, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

"All our operational processes rigorously support this position."

The NSA declined to respond to specific queries about its access to the Optic Nerve system, the presence of US citizens' data in such systems, or whether the NSA has similar bulk-collection programs.

However, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said the agency did not ask foreign partners such as GCHQ to collect intelligence the agency could not legally collect itself.

"As we've said before, the National Security Agency does not ask its foreign partners to undertake any intelligence activity that the US government would be legally prohibited from undertaking itself," she said.

"The NSA works with a number of partners in meeting its foreign intelligence mission goals, and those operations comply with US law and with the applicable laws under which those partners operate.

"A key part of the protections that apply to both US persons and citizens of other countries is the mandate that information be in support of a valid foreign intelligence requirement, and comply with US Attorney General-approved procedures to protect privacy rights. Those procedures govern the acquisition, use, and retention of information about US persons."


Original article: The Guardian, Thursday 27 February 2014 16.16 GMT
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Webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ
« on: 28. February 2014., 05:26:48 »




Pez

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Have millions of webcam users had their sex pictures harvested by the NSA?

Have millions of webcam users had their sex pictures harvested by the NSA?
Cheltenham-based GCHQ has 'harvested webcam images of online users'
More files published following leak by US whistleblower Edward Snowden
'Surveillance programme operated by GCHQ & NSA collected still images'
3% to 11% of webcam imagery stored by GCHQ has 'undesirable nudity'
Internet giant Yahoo brands the claims a 'whole new level of violation'


Britain’s spy agency collected webcam images – including sexually explicit material – from millions of innocent internet users.

Agents at GCHQ intercepted streamed webcam chats from Yahoo users and stored their images using a surveillance programme codenamed Optic Nerve.

In one six-month period in 2008, the intelligence agency collected images from more than 1.8million Yahoo users around the world – regardless of whether they were terror suspects or not.



Claim: Cheltenham-based UK spy agency GCHQ has reportedly harvested webcam images - including sexually explicit material - of millions of internet users

Leaked top-secret documents reveal that up to 11 per cent of the stored images contained ‘undesirable nudity’.

The revelations are the latest from a batch of files published by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the US defence worker who has exposed shocking details of how spy agencies snoop on people around the world.

Optic Nerve – which critics last night branded eerily reminiscent of telescreens in George Orwell’s novel 1984 – was run with the aid of the US National Security Agency.

It was intended for use in experiments in automated facial recognition to try to find terror suspects.



Anger: Internet giant Yahoo reacted furiously to the claims, branding them a 'whole new level of violation'

Rather than collecting webcam chats in their entirety, the system saved one image every five minutes from the users’ feeds between 2008 and 2010.

But documents leaked to The Guardian revealed that sexually explicit pictures proved to be a problem for GCHQ.

One comment from the agency read said: ‘Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.

‘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 used for broadcasting pornography.’ Internet giant Yahoo reacted furiously to the claims.

A spokesman 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.’

Tory MP David Davis said: ‘This is, frankly, creepy. It is perfectly proper for our intelligence agencies to use any and all means to target people for whom there are reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorism, kidnapping and other serious crimes.

‘It is entirely improper to extend such intrusive surveillance on a blanket scale to ordinary citizens.’



Allegation: GCHQ is understood to have secretly accessed fibre-optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data and shared the information with the NSA (whose offices in Maryland are pictured)

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This is an indiscriminate and intimate intrusion on people’s privacy.

'Orwell’s 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.’

GCHQ declined to comment on the claims.

Mr Snowden originally leaked information about the attempts by government spy agencies to harvest private information from millions of people.

Earlier this year, MI5 director general Andrew Parker warned that revealing details about GCHQ’s work was a ‘gift to terrorists’.


Original article: By Ian Drury PUBLISHED: 20:12 GMT, 27 February 2014  | UPDATED: 02:02 GMT, 28 February 2014
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GCHQ 'harvested webcam images'
« Reply #2 on: 28. February 2014., 05:42:14 »
GCHQ 'harvested webcam images'



It is claimed a surveillance programme operated by GCHQ, with aid from America's National Security Agency, collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk

UK spy agency GCHQ has reportedly harvested webcam images - including sexually explicit material - of millions of internet users.

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.

Between 3% and 11% of the Yahoo webcam imagery stored by the Cheltenham-based listening post contain "undesirable nudity", the previously top-secret documents reveal.

Internet giant Yahoo reacted furiously to the claims, branding them a "whole new level of violation".

Revealing that sexually explicit pictures proved to be a problem for GCHQ, the leaked document said: " Unfortunately... it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.

"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 used for broadcasting pornography."

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

Rather than collecting webcam chats in their entirety, the program saved one image every five minutes from the users' feeds, the newspaper added.

Dating between 2008 and 2010, the GCHQ files reportedly show in one six-month period alone, the agency collected webcam imagery - including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications - from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

Optic Nerve began as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012, The Guardian said.

The system was used for experiments in automated facial recognition, to monitor GCHQ's existing targets, and to discover new targets of interest, the newspaper added.

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.

Mr Snowden originally leaked information last May to The Guardian, Washington Post, a location in Rio de Janeiro and another in Germany, which revealed mass surveillance programmes such as the NSA-run Prism and the GCHQ-operated Tempora.

Under the £1 billion Tempora operation, Cheltenham-based GCHQ is understood to have secretly accessed fibre-optic cables carrying huge amounts of internet and communications data and shared the information with the NSA.

Reacting to the latest disclosures, MP David Davis said: " We now know that millions of Yahoo account holders were filmed without their knowledge through their webcams, the images of which were subsequently stored by GCHQ and the NSA.

"This is, frankly, creepy.

"It is perfectly proper for our intelligence agencies to use any and all means to target people for whom there are reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorism, kidnapping and other serious crimes. It is entirely improper to extend such intrusive surveillance on a blanket scale to ordinary citizens."

Critics have claimed Mr Snowden's disclosures have aided terrorists, while others believe the move could be illegal.

Earlier this year, MI5 director general Andrew Parker warned in a speech that revealing details about the work of GCHQ was a ''gift to terrorists'', while Sir John Sawers, head of MI6, said terrorists were ''rubbing their hands with glee''.

But supporters believe the leaks exposed an abuse of powers among the security and intelligence services in the UK and US and have contributed to a much-needed debate on their oversight and role.

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties campaigner group Big Brother Watch, said: " Secretly intercepting and taking photographs from millions of people's webcam chats is as creepy as it gets.

"We have CCTV on our streets and now we have GCHQ in our homes.

"It is right that the security services can target people and tap their communications but they should not be doing it to millions of people.

"This is an indiscriminate and intimate intrusion on people's privacy.

"It is becoming increasingly obvious how badly the law has failed to keep pace with technology and how urgently we need a comprehensive review of surveillance law and oversight structures.

"As more people buy technology with built-in cameras, from Xbox Kinect to laptops and smart TVs, we need to be sure that the law does not allow for them to be routinely accessed when there is no suspicion of any wrongdoing.

"Orwell's 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual."


Original article: By Press Association, 27 Feb 2014 4.02pm  Updated: 10.38pm
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Webcam Images Used to Catch Suspects and Spy on the Innocent
« Reply #3 on: 28. February 2014., 05:48:15 »
Webcam Images Used to Catch Suspects and Spy on the Innocent



Boiled down to its simplest form, retrieving webcam images from remote users can be used with either good intentions or bad intentions, for lawful purposes or illegal purposes. “Webcam images” has popped up as the subject of two stories today demonstrating the difference in user privacy. Sometimes webcam images are used to track down suspects but they are also used to spy on innocent people.

The Wichita police, in an instance where technology is being used to catch a suspected criminal, are using social media to spread webcam images taken from a stolen laptop. The laptop was stolen on Feb. 19, and a few days later, the owner of the stolen laptop used its built-in webcam to remotely take a picture of whoever was using the computer.

The webcam images of the suspect were turned over to the police, who posted the picture on Facebook to see if anyone could identify the suspect. Capt. Doug Nolte said that 4,500 people have already seen the image and that police are hoping with more views someone will recognize the male suspect. Nolte added that people need to be aware this technology exists.

On the other hand, UK spy agency GCHQ would probably rather keep this knowledge secret. With the assistance of the U.S. NSA, GCHQ has collected and stored webcam images of millions of Yahoo chat users. The report is based on the files leaked by Edward Snowden, the notorious NSA whistleblower, who revealed the government’s use of technology to monitor suspects and innocent targets alike.

GCHQ collected images from more than 1.8 million users across the world in 2008 alone, when the operation began as a prototype, but documents provided by Snowden reveal that the operation was still active through 2012. The operation, labeled Optic Nerve, saved Yahoo chat images to agency databases, taking snapshots from a chat feed every five minutes. Users were targeted indiscriminately, regardless of whether the individuals were suspected of wrongdoing.

Among the images, there are an estimated 3 to 11 percent that contain “undesirable nudity.” One of the leaked documents concluded, “it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.” Talk about “Big Brother” exploiting technology and literally exposing people who were never intelligence targets.

Yahoo was furious over the reports and denied any knowledge of the operation. The company said that if the reports are true, it “represents a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy.” Yahoo reaffirmed its commitment to preserving its users’ trust and security, and urged the world’s governing bodies to reform surveillance law.

GCHQ declined to comment on the story, whereas the NSA would not answer questions about its access to the operation, but did say did not act as GCHQ to collect any intelligence the agency could not collect legally itself.

The story is just another illustration of the widespread net of espionage cast over innocent people. Alex Abdo, an attorney for the ACLU, said the report reveals the “importance of the debate on privacy now taking place and the reforms being considered.” Access to technology, such as webcams, that can be used to spy on individuals needs to be regulated as a means to catch criminals, not survey the innocent.

Opinion by David Tulis

Sources:

USA Today

Fox News

Irish Times

The Wichita Eagle


Original article: Added by David Tulis on February 27, 2014.
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Report: UK spies collect massive store of nude photos after intercepting Yahoo webcam service

Report: UK spies intercept webcam pics, nudity

LONDON (AP) — Britain's signals intelligence division is stealing screenshots from hundreds of thousands of innocent Yahoo users' webcam videos, according to the Guardian newspaper, which also reported that the years-long operation has swept up a huge haul of intimate photographs.

The newspaper said GCHQ has been scooping up the sensitive images by intercepting video chats such as the kind offered by Yahoo Messenger, an effort codenamed OPTIC NERVE. It's not clear how many Yahoo users were spied on in this way. The Guardian said that in one six-month period in 2008 GCHQ intercepted the video communications of 1.8 million users, but it's possible that the program, which the Guardian says was still active in 2012, has either grown or shrunk in scope since then.

The Guardian said the documents were provided by former U.S. intelligence worker Edward Snowden, who remains in Russia after having sought temporary asylum there.

Yahoo Messenger has 75 million users worldwide, according to a recent estimate by digital analytics company comScore.

If confirmed, the Guardian's report would represent "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy," Yahoo Inc. said in a written statement. The Sunnyvale, California-based company said it was unaware of such snooping and would never condone it, calling on governments across the world to reform their surveillance practices.

Like the NSA's collection of millions of innocent people's phone, email, and credit card data, the webcam surveillance program was carried out in bulk, creating a massive database where the communications of hundreds of thousands of people could later be scanned by analysts for clues or patterns.

However, unlike the phone database, OPTIC NERVE also automatically downloaded the content of video communications — taking a screenshot from the video feed every five minutes, the Guardian said. One snippet of a leaked document published to the Guardian's website appears to show that GCHQ hoped to eventually "collect images at a faster rate," or perhaps even download all the webcam videos in their entirety.

Even at one screenshot every five minutes, material published to the Guardian's website appeared to show U.K. analysts being deluged with X-rated footage.

"It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," another snippet of an intelligence document published said. It went on to say that an informal study had found that between 3 and 11 percent of all the images carried "undesirable nudity."

The Guardian said that OPTIC NERVE was intended at least in part to identify targets using automatic facial recognition software as they stared into their computer's webcams. But the stockpiling of sexually explicit images of ordinary people had uncomfortable echoes of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four," where the authorities — operating under the aegis of "Big Brother" — fit homes with cameras to monitor the intimate details of people's home lives.

"At least Big Brother had the decency to install his own cameras," British media lawyer David Banksy said in a message posted to Twitter after the revelations broke. "We've had to buy them ourselves."

The collection of nude photographs also raise questions about potential for blackmail. America's National Security Agency has already acknowledged that half a dozen analysts have been caught trawling databases for inappropriate material on partners or love interests. Other leaked documents have revealed how U.S. and British intelligence discussed leaking embarrassing material online to blacken the reputations of their targets.

GCHQ refused to answer a series of questions about OTPIC NERVE, instead returning the same boilerplate answer it has given to reporters for months.

"It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters," the agency said, insisting all its work was legal, necessary, proportionate, and subject to rigorous oversight.


Original article: By RAPHAEL SATTER | Associated Press | on February 27, 2014 in Technology, Media, Politics
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NSA, GCHQ 'planted agents' into World of Warcraft, Second Life to spy on gamers



The NSA and the UK’s GCHQ spying agencies have collected players’ charts and deployed real-life agents into online World of Warcraft and Second Life games, a new leak by whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed.

An NSA document from 2008, titled “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments,” was published Monday by The Guardian in partnership with The New York Times and ProPublica.

In the report, the agency warned of the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored and described them as a "target-rich communications network" where intelligence targets could “hide in plain sight.”

The document showed that the US and UK spy agencies were collecting large amounts of data in the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players.

Real-life agents have been deployed into the World of Warcraft multiplayer online role-playing game and the virtual world of Second Life, in which people interact with each other through avatars.

The NSA and GCHQ also tried to recruit potential informants among the gamers, the report said.



The NSA had so many agents inside the games that a special "de-confliction" group was set up to make sure they wouldn’t hamper each other’s operations.

If analyzed properly, the online games can become a major source of intelligence data, the unnamed author of the paper stressed.

 They could be used to build pictures of the players’ social networks, obtain their photos and geographical locations, as well as gather their communications. The games were also a convenient window for hacking attacks, the report said.

However, the document provided no information about terrorist plots uncovered via online games surveillance, or any proof of terrorist organizations using them for communication.

The document only stated that: “Al-Qaeda terrorist target selectors… have been found associated with XboxLive, Second Life, World of Warcraft, and other GVEs [Games and Virtual Environments].”

Other NSA targets mentioned in the report include “Chinese hackers, an Iranian nuclear scientist, Hezbollah and Hamas members.”

The paper provides only one example when spying in online games managed to produce a piece of usable intelligence data.

After the closure of a website, which sold stolen credit cards details, GCHQ managed to follow and establish contact with the swindlers, as they moved their business to Second Life.



The World of Warcraft creators from Blizzard Entertainment said that they had not given permission to NSA or GCHQ to gather intelligence inside the game, and were “unaware of any surveillance taking place.”

Microsoft and Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, declined to comment on the issue when approached by Guardian journalists.

According to the document, the NSA bosses took some persuading to launch the surveillance program in XboxLive, Second Life and World of Warcraft amid concerns that those behind the program only wanted to play games at their desks during working hours.

Concerns that the games could be used to “reinforce prejudices and cultural stereotypes” were also expressed in the Snowden-leaked document.

It mentioned the ‘Special Forces 2’ game, which was developed by the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, and was used as a “radicalizing medium” to recruit and train “suicide martyrs.”

But the document acknowledged that Hezbollah had only taken a leaf out of the book of the US Army, which produced a free-to-download game for its recruitment page.

The surveillance operations raise concerns about gamers’ privacy, as the ways used to access people’s data and how much communications data is harvested are unspecified, the Guardian said.

It was not clear how the NSA could avoid spying on innocent American citizens, whose nationality and identity were hidden behind their virtual avatars.

Snowden’s revelations of vast domestic and international surveillance and data collection by the US and the UK have been making headlines since June.

For nearly a decade, the NSA used a warrantless web surveillance system with a near-limitless ability to spy on anyone’s phone calls, e-mails, search history and more, obtaining information from major Internet giants like Google, Apple and Facebook.

The leaks about the American intelligence services spying on emails and tapping phones of world leaders has provoked scandals between Washington and a number of countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia.


Original article: Published time: December 09, 2013 12:29 ,Edited time: December 10, 2013 08:32
Their is two easy way to configure a system!
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Pez

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Webcam spies get an eyeful of nudity
« Reply #6 on: 28. February 2014., 06:12:08 »
Webcam spies get an eyeful of nudity

Britain’s top spy agency has been literally peeking in on private webcam use and discovering a great deal of “undesirable nudity”, the Guardian reports.

It says the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had been randomly snatching images off millions of webcam users between 2008 and 2010.

“Optic Nerve”, as the operation was named, hit more than 1.8 million Yahoo chat conversations globally in one six month period alone.

Documents obtained by the Guardian say the agency struggled to keep the large store of sexually explicit imagery away from the eyes of its staff.

"Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person,” a GCHQ document said.

“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 used for broadcasting pornography."

GCHQ estimated that between three per cent and 11 per cent of the Yahoo webcam imagery harvested by GCHQ contained "undesirable nudity".

Discussing efforts to make the interface "safer to use", it noted that current "naive" pornography detectors assessed the amount of flesh in any given shot, and so attracted lots of false positives by incorrectly tagging shots of people's faces as pornography.

GCHQ set up a system which excluded images in which software had not detected any faces from search results – a bid to prevent many of the lewd shots being seen by analysts.

But some got to staff and an internal guide cautioned prospective Optic Nerve users that "there is no perfect ability to censor material which may be offensive. Users who may feel uncomfortable about such material are advised not to open them".

It further noted that "under GCHQ's offensive material policy, the dissemination of offensive material is a disciplinary offence".

The system saved one image every five minutes from the users' feeds to avoid overloading GCHQ's servers.

One document likened the program's "bulk access to Yahoo webcam images/events" to a massive digital police mugbook of previously arrested individuals, the Guardian said.

In a statement to the Guardian, Yahoo strongly condemned the Optic Nerve program, and said it had no awareness of or involvement with the GCHQ collection.

"We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity," said a spokeswoman.
 
   
"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."
 
- Fairfax NZ News


Original article: MICHAEL FIELD  Last updated 07:24 28/02/2014
Their is two easy way to configure a system!
Every thing open and every thing closed.
Every thing else is more or less complex.

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devnullius

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Re: Webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ
« Reply #7 on: 28. February 2014., 11:28:51 »
:( Yeah I read about the Yahoo hack by NSA :(

What I am REALLY surprised about is that their biggest worry was nudity...

FFS!

If *that* is what shocks you...

Here you go!



Dirty spying bastards!

WAR!

Devvie
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devnullius

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Re: Webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ
« Reply #8 on: 28. February 2014., 11:37:38 »
More information about bitcoin, altcoin & crypto in general? GO TO  j.gs/7385484/btc

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devnullius

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Time for some Girlpower!
« Reply #9 on: 28. February 2014., 11:47:00 »
Powerpuff girls, UNITE!

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