As published on Politics Home:
David Davis: Comments on GCHQ and NSA storing webcam images
In response to the revelation that GCHQ and the NSA have intercepted and stored webcam images of millions of unsuspecting internet users over a number of years Rt Hon David Davis MP has said:
“We now know that millions of Yahoo account holders were filmed without their knowledge through their webcams, the images of which were subsequently stored by GCHQ and the NSA. This is frankly creepy.
“It is perfectly proper for our intelligence agencies to use any and all means to target people for whom there are reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorism, kidnapping and other serious crimes. It is entirely improper to extend such intrusive surveillance on a blanket scale to ordinary citizens.
“1.8m people were unknowingly filmed in just one six month period. Filmed in their own homes in an absolute invasion of their privacy. Even in ‘1984’ the citizen was aware that they were being watched. We have exceeded even the worst Orwellian nightmares.
“Webcams are inbuilt into most computers and laptops, they are automatically on and most of us are unaware of ways of disabling them.
“The technology is insidious in the extreme. GCHQ has legally created a vast database of ‘mug shots’ of mostly innocent people. We will no doubt be told that GCHQ has operated within the law. If so, that raises two questions. Firstly, is it not now clear that our laws have been so badly drafted that they provide no protection at all for the innocent citizen? Secondly, what on earth were the Ministers, GCHQ bosses, and the oversight commissioner thinking when they allowed this grotesquely disproportionate invasion of privacy?”