Yahoo users' webcam chats are so saucy they're even upsetting the spies

I do think a bit of privacy is a good idea – but, these days, blanket CCTV, NHS records, phone tapping and now general spying has put paid to all that

What odd stuff GCHQ has discovered while spying on Yahoo users' webcam chats. "A surprising number of people use [them] to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," the spies report. Well, Rosemary and I think it's odd. We feel like outsiders, fading elderly creatures from a lost world of fountain pens, sherbert dips and wirelesses. We thought a "chat' was something you did over the garden wall, during a tea-break, on a walkie, or on the phone. Now it seems to mean sending an everlasting picture or mini-film of a bit of yourself – not usually an elbow – floating out into eternity, for anyone and everyone to see.

The webcam chats are so saucy, they're even upsetting the spies. Why would anyone want to do that? "Because they can," says Rosemary. But she and I can't, because our mobiles aren't up to it. Not that we'd want to. Photos of the dog or the grandchildren perhaps, or holidays, or the garden, but "undesirable nudity"? Never.

Anyway, I put my photos into albums.

"You're probably not putting many into them now. D'you still use a camera and get your film developed?" says Olivia, laughing harshly. "Sex interests everyone and drives everything. But if they spied on you they'd only find you'd been buying lentils and saving whales. You're going to say, 'I'm an old lady and I don't approve', aren't you?"

Heavens no! I wouldn't dare disapprove. Do what you like, everyone. I just find this sort of thing frightfully embarassing. I always have. It's nothing to do with being old. I promise I had to shut my eyes nearly all through Ai No Corrida (In the Realm of the Senses), never dared stare up a speculum, or sit on the photocopier, even in my youth, never mind scatter rude pictures out into space. And although I am a terrific blabbermouth, I do think a bit of privacy is a good idea, but we don't seem to have much nowadays, what with blanket CCTV, NHS records, phone tapping and now general spying. Why give away the only bit you have left?

Powered by article was written by Michele Hanson, for The Guardian on Monday 3rd March 2014 16.31 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © Yahoo