In its statement to the Guardian, the spy agency said that "there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee."Digital forensics specialist Professor Peter Sommer - who is also a Visiting Professor at Leicester's de Montfort University - said that GCHQ's ability to harvest webcam images en-masse does not come as a surprise."The argument for - that one might conceivably identify someone of interest via facial recognition technology - seems feeble against the costs of doing so, the likelihood of success and the obvious problems of collateral intrusion of privacy," he said.

Webcam yahoo sex-89Webcam yahoo sex-37

Using Yahoo accounts as an in, the Optic Nerve program reportedly collected the still images of millions of people not even suspected of any kind of crime.

The system collected one image every five minutes and, if you were unlucky enough to be using a username similar to that of one of GCHQ's targets, then your face may have been shown to analysts and agency staff.

Yahoo has vehemently denied any knowledge of the webcam interception, describing the activity as "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy." An internal GCHQ wiki page shows that the program was still active in 2012, and was supposedly conceived to experiment in facial recognition, monitor existing suspects and determine new targets.

"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," one of the leaked documents reads.

"The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright."Of course, the GCHQ quickly learned that people don't always use webcams for face-to-face chats. it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person."Yes, "surprising".

But not as surprising as learning that the kinky private webcam sex session you enjoyed four years ago was potentially pored over by the suits at GCHQ, we'll wager.For its part, GCHQ reiterated that it doesn't comment on intelligence matters, adding that "all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal...The Guardian - citing former NSA operative Edward Snowden-sourced (and leaked) documents from the UK's spy agency - says that Operation Optic Nerve collated the images from Yahoo users between 20.Yahoo has denied any knowledge of the project and describes it as a completely unacceptable privacy violation.The paper points out that some of the Webcam images may include detail of an adult nature, noting that Yahoo's software allows more than one person to view a given video stream.This raises the curious spectre of GCHQ staff viewing sexually explicit images as part of their job, GCHQ, for its part, has not denied the Guardian report, saying that all of its work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that its activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate.