Skip

"Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted"
February 27, 2014 12:42 PM   Subscribe


 
Surely this...
posted by entropicamericana at 12:49 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


But...what about all the webcam sex?

Spook to up-and-coming young politician: Say...Remember back when you used to sex-cam with your girlfriend? Yeahhh...Can we talk about this upcoming legislation you oppose?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:52 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Heh I was reading about this on cstross' blog today. Specifically about how one could probably arrest GCHQ staff with possession of child porn.

Oops.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:52 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


You speak as if this rule of law thing applied to all.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 12:53 PM on February 27 [14 favorites]


Surely this...

Will lead to many more people using Yahoo web chats in the hopes of finding some porn?
posted by nubs at 12:54 PM on February 27




Will lead to many more people using Yahoo web chats in the hopes of finding some porn?

Isn't that the purpose of Chaturbate?
posted by Thorzdad at 12:56 PM on February 27


We can combine this leak with the recent "dirty tricks" leaks and begin to form a pretty awful picture of the kind of thing that has been going on in the name of democracy and freedom lately.

As a technologist with a pretty good understanding of how deep the corruption has to go on a technical level to lead to these kinds of outcome, it's really troubling.

When you assemble all of these individual stories into the bigger picture, the level of subversion required to pull it off is so fundamental that really, no software that uses a network connection is trustworthy anymore.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:59 PM on February 27 [6 favorites]


NSA/GCHQ is achieving its goal. Every day I worry less and less about the threat of terrorism to our way of life.
posted by Thing at 1:16 PM on February 27 [26 favorites]


"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.

'We didn't ask them to do it... they used their own initiative. Happy to get access though!'
posted by panaceanot at 1:18 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


The unexpected upside of all this (to my mind, anyway) is that ubiquitous surveillance combined with today's technology pretty much equals plausible deniability across the board.

Who cares if someone has a video of you naked with someone else when it's as easy to fake it as it is to record it, especially when it's been demonstrated that it's government policy to create false information to discredit opposing ideologies?
posted by Mooski at 1:19 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


that's why i never take off my massive leather codpiece in front of my webcam.
posted by bruce at 1:23 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


When I was reading this earlier, I was struck by how concerned they were that their analysts might be offended by seeing some nudity. Not at the massive intrusion they are committing into people's private lives, but the chance that you might, in the middle of illegally spying on someone, be exposed to their breasts.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 1:24 PM on February 27 [15 favorites]


From an internal GCHQ document quoted in the article (emphasis added):
"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."
I honestly don't know what to make of "surprising" in that passage. Who does the GCHQ have on this? An unfrozen caveman? Or is this just dry British bureaucratic humour?
posted by mhum at 1:25 PM on February 27 [7 favorites]


Would it be possible to set up bots which stream millions of Youtube films through Yahoo webcam chat to each other? Just endless endless cat vids and game playthroughs as a special gift to NSA/GCHQ.
posted by Thing at 1:32 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography.

They only just noticed?
posted by Dip Flash at 1:32 PM on February 27


""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.""

NO SHIT, SHERLOCKS.

'Shocked! Shocked we are to find out that people are using the internet for porn! Lawd ha' mercy!'
posted by zarq at 1:39 PM on February 27


Why are only small clips of these documents released?
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:41 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


It's funny that they're surprised about porn on the internet until they snag a stream of the spouse/child/person of a legislator casting a swing vote on a critical issue that they have a stake in. I guess it's still funny then, but more of in the "folly of man" sense than actual humor.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:41 PM on February 27


bruce: "that's why i never take off my massive leather codpiece robe and wizard hat in front of my webcam."
posted by Big_B at 1:57 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


'Shocked! Shocked we are to find out that people are using the internet for porn! Lawd ha' mercy!'

Any new technological advance for humanity is judged on the following criteria:

* Can I fuck it?
* Can I use it to find people to fuck?
* Can I use it to watch other people fuck?

If the answer to any of those is yes it's allowed to survive in the marketplace.
posted by Talez at 2:13 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Oh come on, it's not like they're auctioning off sex vids of all your favorite celebrities to the highest bidder... are they?
posted by Scram at 2:35 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


The only thing remotely surprising about this is the shear volume of data involved. Sure it's not an incredibly high resolution video stream but still it's a lot of data.
posted by Mitheral at 3:34 PM on February 27


Heh I was reading about this on cstross' blog today. Specifically about how one could probably arrest GCHQ staff with possession of child porn.

Oops.


You almost certainly cannot convict any member of GCHQ reproducing/cracking and viewing even explicit CP streams for the purposes of their job role. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 added section 1B of the Protection of Children Act 1978 as below:
"1B Exception for criminal proceedings, investigations etc.
(1) In proceedings for an offence under section 1(1)(a) of making an indecent photograph or pseudo-photograph of a child, the defendant is not guilty of the offence if he proves that—
(a) it was necessary for him to make the photograph or pseudo-photograph for the purposes of the prevention, detection or investigation of crime, or for the purposes of criminal proceedings, in any part of the world,

(b) at the time of the offence charged he was a member of the Security Service, and it was necessary for him to make the photograph or pseudo-photograph for the exercise of any of the functions of the Service, or

(c) at the time of the offence charged he was a member of GCHQ, and it was necessary for him to make the photograph or pseudo-photograph for the exercise of any of the functions of GCHQ."
Making the photograph here could be argued to be gathering evidence for possible prosecution of the producers of the original photograph under 1B(1)(a), and setting this aside one of the functions of GCHQ is the gathering of intelligence meaning that the 1B(1)(c) defence is also activated. I only say almost because it's possible to imagine someone doing this in a way that was judged as unnecessary for the purposes of 1B(1)(c). Given the traditional deference of English courts to the security services, this would probably have to be work explicitly unauthorised or forbidden by GCHQ leadership themselves.

Boring, I know.
posted by jaduncan at 4:07 PM on February 27 [3 favorites]


Everyone's laughing this off, but fuck and goddamn. Government spooks are watching people have webcam sex, their very-most private Internet communications, broadly and indiscriminately. How much worse does it have to get? And while this is being reported as a UK story you can safely assume NSA in the US is right alongside with their pervert cousins.

I kind of wish a bunch of these images, suitably anonymized, would leak online. Just so people got a visceral sense of what a hideous invasion of privacy this is.
posted by Nelson at 4:11 PM on February 27 [5 favorites]


Awesome. Some analyst somewhere could potentially be looking at my boobs right now. I try to only show them to people I like.
posted by chatongriffes at 4:48 PM on February 27


They were talking about harvesting Kinect videos-- which is on every time you're sitting in front of your xbox watching netflix with your SO.
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on February 27


And just today Bruce Schneier gave a talk at TrustyCon (the anti-RSA conference running parallel to RSA). The most tweeted quote that I saw? “the lesson from 30 years of PGP is that 1 click for encryption is 1 click too many.” This story is why. Encryption works, but only if your provider is willing to deploy it (or if you are willing to only use a service provider that does).
posted by antonymous at 5:35 PM on February 27


If you got a laptop, you really should place a bit of tape over your webcam eye.

(For those of you that haven't seen that picture before, that is Martin Muench of Gamma Group International, a company that created FinFisher - a trojan horse developed for use by government agencies. It has, as you can imagine, webcam capture capabilities.)
posted by ymgve at 6:19 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


The Livejasmin feed (totally safe for work! Kinda dry, really) could be the ruin of nations.
posted by SPrintF at 6:58 PM on February 27


If you got a laptop, you really should place a bit of tape over your webcam eye.

$5 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation gets you a strip of their handy removable webcam covers.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:47 PM on February 27 [2 favorites]


When you assemble all of these individual stories into the bigger picture, the level of subversion required to pull it off is so fundamental that really, no software that uses a network connection is trustworthy anymore.

So, the Cylons really are us, after all.

(I have nothing left but gallows humor.)
posted by meinvt at 7:49 PM on February 27 [1 favorite]


Everyone's laughing this off, but fuck and goddamn. Government spooks are watching people have webcam sex, their very-most private Internet communications, broadly and indiscriminately. How much worse does it have to get? And while this is being reported as a UK story you can safely assume NSA in the US is right alongside with their pervert cousins.

I think what's funny is that the secret reports are saying how they are trying to filter out all the sex chat because what they're looking for is face shots they can use facial recognition on, and the sheer amount of porn is getting in the way:
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."
...
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.
Basically they spend a lot of time stopping the spys from watching porn all day.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:17 AM on February 28


I find the last link to be understated. They treat this
"While I suspect most of us are pretty honest people, I also suspect that you could probably create a pretty good case against anyone if you had a record of every communication they’ve ever had, and could sift through it at will at any point in the future."
as a theoretical thing, but there's a growing sentiment (at least in the US) that criminal law has become so baroque prosecutors could find a way to charge anyone they like with a crime if it suited them. And don't think you're safe if you can afford a lawyer: they'll freeze your assets to prevent you from paying for one.

I guess at this point I'm actually hoping it all comes to a head, but it's going to suck for the people who force that (like it has for Snowden, Manning, etc). And for the first time in my (apparently naive) life, I'm not convinced good will win out or that our government is a force for good in the main.
posted by yerfatma at 6:17 AM on February 28


Basically they spend a lot of time stopping the spys from watching porn all day.

Plot terror attacks naked, I guess is the take away.
posted by empath at 7:19 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]






David Cameron's porn-filter advisor arrested for possession of images of sexual abuse of children
I guess Cameron wanted a child porn expert for his censorship program.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:49 AM on March 4


Alleged victims' fury at failure to ban undercover police seduction tactics
via ioerror's U.K. Home Office endorses State Rape tweet.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:30 AM on March 18


« Older Rise of bot traffic: websites seen more often by...   |   The Brie People Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post