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GCHQ And NSA Are Just Absolutely Shocked By Your "Undesirable Nudity"

Posted by Matt on February 27, 2014         Tagged with: surveillance

I spend a lot of time talking the ear off anyone who will listen to me about government surveillance and the various operations that have come to light in the last year. For the most part, people are concerned but without any clear idea of what they can do about it, are also somewhat resigned to their fate. They shake their head and say "ugh" and then move on with their day. Which is a perfectly understandable response to a problem that seems to grow bigger every week and which, by design, they're not supposed to understand or even know about it.

However, I've never seen a reaction quite like the one I'm getting when I point people to this Guardian article on the GCHQ and the NSA capturing frames from Yahoo webcam chats. Apparently the spy agencies were shocked to discover that sometimes, people get naked on their webcams. They estimate that 7.1% of all Yahoo webcam chats contain "undesirable nudity".

Occasionally, in a defense of government surveillance, someone will trot out the "if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about" defense. The simple retort to this is usually "You have blinds on your bedroom window, don't you?". The implication, of course, being that even those of who aren't doing anything wrong have moments in our lives that we don't feel like sharing with others. If you were to make a list of those moments, a lot of people would put moments where they are naked near the top of that list. This story is a very real reminder of that.