Category Archives: UK

GCHQ and NSA intercepted Yahoo users’ private photographs

GCHQ and NSA intercepted Yahoo users private photographs GCHQ and NSA intercepted Yahoo users private photographs

British and American surveillance agencies teamed up to develop a system that collected millions of images from the webcams of unsuspecting and innocent internet users, new leaked documents reveal.
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This “Optic Nerve” program — administered by the UK’s GCHQ with the assistance of the National Security Agency — routinely intercepted and stored those webcam images in secret starting in 2008, according to documents disclosed by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian on Thursday.

The program indiscriminately collected millions of images from people who used Yahoo’s webcam chat function, the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman and James Ball reported, “including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications.”

According to the journalists, the GCHQ relied on Optic Nerve to experiment with facial recognition programing to monitor existing targets and search for new persons of interest.

But the GCHQ didn’t stop at targeting solely suspected terrorists, the report continues, and instead collected intelligence by seemingly anyone unfortunate enough to log-in to Yahoo’s webcam chat feature, at least between 2008 and 2012.

“Yahoo webcam is known to be used by GCHQ targets,” reads a portion of the classified documentation published by the paper.

The GCHQ did not limit their surveillance to just those target, however. According to the leaked Snowden document, 1.8 million Yahoo users had their webcam images collected by the agency during just a six-month span shortly after Optic Nerve was first rolled out.

When reached for comment by the British paper, a representative for Yahoo said the GCHQ program as explained demonstrates a “whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy.”

Elsewhere in the leaked documentation, GCHQ agents admitted that a large portion of the imagery collected contained “undesirable nudity.”

“Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person,” one internal document cited by The Guardian reads.“Also, the fact that the Yahoo software allows more than one person to view a webcam stream without necessarily sending a reciprocal stream means that it appears sometimes to be used for broadcasting pornography.”

And although the program was carried out by British spies, Ackerman and Ball acknowledged that millions of Americans may have had their own likeness — clothed or not — captured in the process.

“GCHQ does not have the technical means to make sure no images of UK or US citizens are collected and stored by the system, and there are no restrictions under UK law to prevent Americans’ images being accessed by British analysts without an individual warrant,” they wrote.

But Vanee Vines, a spokesperson for the NSA, told the Guardian that the US spy agency “does not ask its foreign partners to undertake any intelligence activity that the US government would be legally prohibited from undertaking itself.”

“A key part of the protections that apply to both US persons and citizens of other countries is the mandate that information be in support of a valid foreign intelligence requirement, and comply with US Attorney General-approved procedures to protect privacy rights. Those procedures govern the acquisition, use, and retention of information about US persons,” Vines said.

In an op-ed published in The Guardian also on Thursday, acclaimed security expert and cryptographer Bruce Schneier said even safeguards in place to prevent these images being viewed by any GCHQ staffer should be questioned.

“[I]s it really okay for a computer to monitor you online, and for that data collection and analysis only to count as a potential privacy invasion when a person sees it? I say it’s not, and the latest Snowden leaks only make more clear how important this distinction is,” he wrote.

Source: RT

Untested GM purple tomato: Scientists ditch ethics as they seek sick patients for human trials

GM purple tomato Untested GM purple tomato: Scientists ditch ethics as they seek sick patients for human trials
Genetically modified (GM) purple tomatoes are back, and British “Frankenscientists” want you and your family to consume them as a way to avoid developing cancer – seriously.
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Researchers from the U.K.’s John Innes Centre (JIC) are boldly claiming, based on laughably flimsy evidence, that GM purple tomatoes are some kind of miracle “superfruit” for cancer, even though their potential dangers are completely unknown and non-GM fruit and vegetable alternatives with the same or more nutrients already exist.

GMWatch.org reports that Professor Cathie Martin and her research team from JIC are hoping to very soon begin human trials of the mostly untested GM fruit on heart patients in the U.K. This is after a single small-scale laboratory trial revealed that mice given an extract of the transgenic travesty lived about 40 days longer on average than other mice.

Spliced with genes from the antioxidant-rich snapdragon plant, GM purple tomatoes have been around since 2008, when we previously reported that they were a budding candidate for cancer treatment. At that time, researchers made the inference that humans might be able to avoid developing cancer, or perhaps just live longer if they already have the disease, by consuming patented, corporation-owned GM purple tomatoes straight from the lab.

The idea did not exactly fly the first time around, so now the team that created GM purple tomatoes is trying again, this time with the help of the mainstream media. According to GMWatch.org, outrageous headlines branding GM purple tomatoes as some type of miracle cancer cure are proliferative, despite the fact that nothing has actually been proven with regard to the efficacy of the novel crop.

“These claims are not actually based on benefits seen in humans, but rather from a small-scale study of mice that were given an extract of genetically modified tomatoes,” admits NHS Choices, the official website of the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS). “[T]he small sample sizes used mean the results may have occurred by chance. Also until the tomato is tested in humans we cannot be sure that it will offer the same benefits, or that there will not be any unexpected harms.”

Non-GM tomatoes with high levels of anthocyanins already exist

One of the major claims being made with regard to the alleged benefits of GM purple tomatoes has to do with their exceptionally (unnaturally) high antioxidant levels, which researchers say makes them the “ultimate healthy superfood.” Rich in anthocyanins, which are what gives them their purple color, GM purple tomatoes are purported to help bridge a nutritional gap that can lead to cancer.

But many other fruits and vegetables that occur naturally, including foods like raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage and eggplant, to name just a few, already contain high levels of anthocyanins and much more. These foods have not been genetically modified, and yet they are admittedly superior in terms of their overall nutrient content and their proven safety.

And if tomatoes are the issue, researchers in both Brazil and Oregon have already developed non-GM tomato varieties with virtually the exact same antioxidant and nutrient profiles as GM purple tomatoes. In other words, GM purple tomatoes are a completely unnecessary addition to the food supply, and only threaten to further adulterate the food supply with irreversible genetic pollution.

“This is extraordinarily irresponsible and breaches medical ethics,” adds GMWatch.org, noting that the next step for GM purple tomatoes is for their juice extract to be administered to heart patients in the U.K. “If Martin and the JIC really are planning to rush ahead with human trials on sick people before doing basic animal toxicology testing, then they are putting patients at risk. Sadly this would be typical of the arrogant behaviour we have come to expect of pushers of this technology.”

Sources for this article include:

http://www.gmwatch.org

http://www.gmwatch.org

http://www.gmwatch.org

http://www.nhs.uk

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com