GCHQ YAHOO image collection - legal?

Peter Fairbrother zenadsl6186 at zen.co.uk
Fri Feb 28 06:51:55 GMT 2014


"Yahoo webcam images from millions of users intercepted by GCHQ

• Material included large quantity of sexually explicit images"

To place this in context, the images in question are taken from video 
calls, many of them between Brits in Britain - but they go through the 
US YAHOO servers on the way.

(And the people running it are called "secret strap-one". Not kidding. 
Pervy, or what?)

Now how are GCHQ intercepting these UK-to-UK calls with any degree of 

I can only suppose they claim it is under ss.5(6) of RIPA which 
legitimises "(a) all such conduct (including the interception of 
communications not identified by the warrant) as it is necessary to 
undertake in order to do what is expressly authorised or required by the 

the warrant in question being a bulk trawling warrant signed by the 
Foreign Secretary, which is meant to allow interception of 
communications of people who are outside the UK (bulk interception 
warrants for communications of people in the UK are not supposed to be 
allowed - but this is a potential loophole.

Se, GCHQ intercept everything on the cables which go to the US - and 
they don't sort out the domestic traffic which they aren't allowed to 
lok at because "GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no 
images of UK [..] citizens are collected and stored by the system".

Isn't it time this loophole was closed? Eg perhaps GCHQ should be 
required to able to show that 95% of the traffic they collect or look at 
under a bulk non-domestic traffic collection warrant should be 
non-domestic traffic?

-- Peter Fairbrother

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