On Thursday Morning, The Guardian revealed possibly the most disturbing revelation yet from the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The British spy agency GCHQ has intercepted and stored images from millions of innocent people’s webcam, including a “large quantities” of sexually explicit images, under a program un-ironically codenamed “Optic Nerve”

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.
GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.
This is literally the nightmare scenario that everyone has been thinking since we started to learn the grotesque scope of dragnet government surveillance. The UK government is literally watching million¬s of people through the camera on their computers – people who are suspected of no wrongdoing. We can only assume they’ve collected and stored images of people having sex, arguing, using the bathroom, images of our children and elders. It literally it savage work.

Whats the worst part?

Abusive spying like this isn’t limited to top-secret agencies like NSA and GCHQ.
Outdated privacy laws make it way to easy for literally hundreds of government agencies, from the IRS to local cops, to invade privacy for no good reason, something stated in the Universal Decleration of Human lights.

We cant stop all privacy abuses in one day, but its clear from todays news that – if we don’t push back on runaway government surveillance every chance we get – there is literally nothing that these agencies wont do in their misguided quest to collect everything.

The Email Privacy Act would reform key pieces of ECPA, the outdated law that government agencies currently uses as a loophole to snoop on peoples emails without warrant.

There’s serious momentum for it in Congress right now, we just have to push it over the edge. Dozens of groups are mobilizing this week and next to make sure that this get bill gets passed and restores some sanity to our online privacy laws.

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