Britain's surveillance agency, GCHQ, hasn't fared much better than the NSA these past several months; the latest leak shared with the Guardian claims that Britain has been collecting millions of webcam images from Yahoo users. What's more, it appears that these images were used to discover "targets" and match users with existing persons of interest via automated facial recognition.
According to documents provided by Edward Snowden, GCHQ intercepted still images of Yahoo video calls -- including those done with Yahoo Messenger -- in bulk and saved them as part of a program code-named Optic Nerve. The agency apparently collected these images whether or not users were deemed intelligence targets -- in a six-month period in 2008, it amassed webcam pics from more than 1.8 million Yahoo users around the globe. The documents also reveal that these images were collected with the purpose of identifying targets using facial-recognition tools to compare Yahoo users to existing GCHQ targets.