- 2 updates
Internet company Yahoo! has called claims that UK spy agency GCHQ intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of users as a "whole new level of violation".
In its latest report on files leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Guardian newspaper claims a surveillance programme operated by GCHQ, collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk.
In a furious reaction to the report, a Yahoo spokeswoman said: "We were not aware of, nor would we condone, this reported activity.
"This report, if true, represents a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy that is completely unacceptable and we strongly call on the world's governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December.
"We are committed to preserving our users' trust and security and continue our efforts to expand encryption across all of our services."GCHQ declined to comment on the claims.
UK intelligence agency GCHQ "intercepted and stored" the webcam images of internet users who were not suspected of any wrongdoing, the Guardian claimed, citing secret documents.
Files dated between 2008 and 2010 allegedly show a monitoring programme, known as "Optic Nerve", stored still images from Yahoo webcam chats and saved them to agency databases with the help of its US counterpart the National Security Agency.
GCHQ has consistently said its activities are necessary and "carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework”.