Latest Snowden Leak confirms story Infowars first broke EIGHT YEARS AGO
February 27, 2014
The latest revelation concerning mass government spying confirms an issue that Infowars has been covering for close to a decade. British and American governments are spying on people in their own homes via web cams, laptop microphones and devices such as the X-box.
The London Guardian has the details in a report based on information leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The British surveillance agency GCHQ, with help from the NSA, actively spied on nearly 2 million Yahoo users via webcams built into their computers. The documents show that the agency intercepted millions of images as part of a secret program codenamed OPTIC NERVE.
The report also states that Americans were almost certainly targeted as part of the bulk collection of data, and that there is no law to prevent such activity in Britain.
The documents show that images were collected from webcams at regular intervals, one image every five minutes, and were used by the spy agency to trial automated facial recognition programs.
The Guardian describes the process as “eerily reminiscent of the telescreens evoked in George Orwell’s 1984.”
The documents dub the practice as “bulk access to Yahoo webcam images/events”, and spies working at GCHQ compared it to a police database of mugshots. “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,” the papers read. “The best images are ones where the person is facing the camera with their face upright.”
Essentially, the spy agency appear to have been building a huge digital database containing the faces of Yahoo users.
The documents advise employees at GCHQ on how to use the system, noting “[I]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”.
In one presentation contained within the documents, more technologically advanced systems, such as iris recognition cameras, are discussed as potential surveillance tools. The paper even chillingly states “think Tom Cruise in Minority Report”.
The documents state that Yahoo users were specifically singled out because “Yahoo webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets”.
The papers also note that a large quantity of the data collected contained nudity or sexually explicit imagery. The spy agency seemingly made no effort to prevent the collection of such images.
Yahoo described the practice as “a whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy,” and strenuously denied having any knowledge of the program.
Infowars first reported in 2006, EIGHT YEARS AGO, that innocent people were being spied on through their computers. We specifically described the practice as Minority Report style technology, as the GCHQ had done.
We have since covered the issue consistently, warning that “Hundreds of millions of Internet-active Americans will all be potential targets for secret surveillance.”
Of course, some quarters dismissed our reports as “conspiracy theories”, while worried internet users questioned whether the reports were accurate.
The GCHQ program was seemingly not limited to Yahoo user web cams either. Another presentation within the leaked internal papers discusses the capabilities of the Xbox 360′s Kinect camera, saying it generated “fairly normal webcam traffic” and that it was being evaluated as a potential surveillance tool.
We have also documented the potential use of Xbox for surveillance purposes, noting that Skype calls made on the devices can be intercepted. We have also warned that the ‘always on’ camera of the new Xbox One, which is so powerful it can see through clothing, is wide open to abuse by hackers and government agencies.
According to the leaked documents, the OPTIC NERVE program began as a prototype in 2008 and was still active in 2012. There is no indication that the program has been deactivated.
Security expert Bruce Schneier writes that this latest revelation highlights how there is no distinction between actively spying on a person and what he called “Eavesdropping by algorithm”, in other words, automated computer surveillance. The NSA and the Obama administration have attempted to argue that what they are doing cannot be called “spying” or even “collecting” data, because when the data is gathered, a person is not looking at it. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper still uses this explanation to claim he never lied to Congress when he answered ‘no’ to the question “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”
The fallout from the OPTIC NERVE program, the creation of facial recognition databases, and the fact that spooks provably looked at images of people, even NAKED images of people, highlights the fact, Schneier argues, that the “NSA’s definition of ‘collect’ makes no sense whatsoever”, and that our governments are indeed actively spying on us.
Special Report: Naked Body Scanners Deployed on US Streets
That’s a headline at infowars. I cannot view the video, I wonder what they are saying about it? The photo of the lamp post is creepy enough as it is. I imagine all the city-wide camera systems will do the same, if they’re not already. How would anyone know?
People are basically welcoming Big Brother into their homes even without a tyrant forcing ‘telescreens’ into their living rooms. Just wait until the so-called “Internet of Things” gets rolling!
For the moment a low-tech approach will stop “OPTIC NERVE” in its tracks – put a piece of black electrical tape over any built-in camera. If you don’t have a built-in camera, don’t connect one. It is also best to avoid commercial software from major vendors when possible, as back doors are likely in such products. There may also be back doors in open-source software, of course, but at least in theory the source code is available for inspection.
Built-in microphones are more of a problem. These can sometimes be disabled in the system BIOS, or the associated device driver removed or disabled in the operating system. (Not as good as physical disablement, but that may not be possible without destroying the computer.)
Plusbig problem of course is that the hardware itself may also be compromised. The NSA has also been revealed to have an intercept program where deliveries of computers are diverted to their labs in order to install spy built-in spy capability, most likely at the hardware or BIOS level.
My own belief is that the machinery of the State should be used against its own worst practitioners whenever possible — turn their own rules, regulations, and laws against them. It is quite clear that the NSA is guilty of sedition against the Constitution and treason against the people of the United States. Those NSA decision-makers responsible for this nefarious conduct should be put on trial and the death penalty applied upon a guilty verdict.
In fact, all involved in the implementation of these schemes should at a minimum be given lengthy jail sentences. I’m actually surprised that the bringing of criminal charges against the perps responsible for the NSA police-state infrastructure does not appear to be part of the national discussion on these issues.
The State always sees itself under seige, and to be honest – security risk assessment is correct, once the physical walls are breached, the electronic walls are minor delays at best.
Which begs the question, why don’t we make it harder for illegal migrants (immigrants, criminals, smugglers, et al) to get in – and EASIER for those who come in legally?
Always the same reason: We can’t control “X”, so we’ll control everything ELSE in micro-detail. Legal immigrants are thrown out, denied visas (Inc. H1-B – WHILE EMPLOYED!), and hunted – because they are known.
Illegals, with no documentation, no driver’s license, no habla anglais, can commit crimes – AND CANNOT BE DEPORTED AFTERWARDS. I mean, there are stories of illegal wetbacks getting a third DWI conviction – CONVICTION! – and killing people in the process! But we can’t send them back to Mexico.
Nor can we show the American flag on Cinco de Mayo, as it might offend the wetbacks…
So, WTF is going on?
Intelligent “Do-ers” are being sidelined into the gutter, while those who vote DemonRat (for pay, mind – from OUR taxes) are welcomed with open arms.
While society cannot survive the overall trend – loss of intellect and talent destroys the country – it CAN take several generations to achieve that dissolution. So, America was made great over what, about 200 years, sheltering dissidents & malcontents? Then the Revolution, then the coup (CONstitution), and then 250 years (almost) to fall apart, accelerating now as the empire gets older and the people decay.
Galt’s Gulch looks better every day – but I admit I’m a bit scared by the idea, I’ve got nothing to lose – but I only have so much knowledge in my head, and foreign operating systems aren’t in my knowledge base… Not like I can fall back on carpentry or electronics.