It's not clear how many Yahoo users were spied on in this way.
The Guardian said that in one six-month period in 2008 GCHQ intercepted the video communications of 1.8 million users, but it's possible that the program, which the Guardian says was still active in 2012, has either grown or shrunk in scope since then.
"At least Big Brother had the decency to install his own cameras," British media lawyer David Banksy said in a message posted to Twitter after the revelations broke.
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America's National Security Agency has already acknowledged that half a dozen analysts have been caught trawling databases for inappropriate material on partners or love interests. GCHQ refused to answer a series of questions about OTPIC NERVE, instead returning the same boilerplate answer it has given to reporters for months.
"It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters," the agency said, insisting all its work was legal, necessary, proportionate, and subject to rigorous oversight.
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