The ‘Eyes’ are on Us: Five Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes
Everyone now wants top security when it comes to their privacy. You may not be a political figure or a celebrity, but that does not mean you will never become the victim of constant government surveillance.
Many people keep wondering about the eyes that watch us. The majority of these well-known eyes are within 5, 9, and 14 eyes. You may be wondering what are or who are the five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes. Well, they are the world’s most well-known surveillance alliances.
When it comes to choosing the type of security you would like, the five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes are something you need to look out for, especially when it comes to purchasing VPNs and other privacy enhancement tools.
Your internet service provider (ISP) may very well be linked to this surveillance alliance. They may even be handing your personal data to them. Your I.P. address is the simplest thing to track down by anyone, but it can be trouble for you in the hands of the wrong people.
This alliance started after World War II. An international surveillance alliance was created among a few countries, and they have been creating networks to spy on people for years now.
Through this article, you will learn all you need to know about the five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes; this includes every country involved in it, what they do, and how you can stop them from getting your personal data.
What is 5 Eyes
The five eyes (abbreviated as FVEY) reference to the countries with the surveillance alliance which are:
- The United States of America (USA)
- The United Kingdom (U.K.)
- New Zealand
Understanding 5 Eyes Concept
The five eyes share all the information and activities of their citizens. It does not matter how big of a figure you may be in the public’s eye; your data is theirs in the five eyes.
There are further organizations within the five eyes of each country. For example, in the USA, the CIA, FBI, NSA, and DIA collect information and share it amongst the governments.
The history of the five eyes dates back to World War II and the USA-UK agreement (which I will later further elaborated on). In short, this was an agreement that made sure all the countries would share every bit of information they receive.
The power of the five eyes government can be noted by looking at the United Kingdom’s Investigatory Powers Act in 2016. This Act gave the government the ability to record every text message and browsing history of people. This data would be stored and kept available for the government for two years and can be used without a warrant.
There have been other large agencies that have helped the five eyes claim people’s data. These agencies are a part of what is known as the PRISM program. In 2017, some ISPs were allowed to record every user’s activities and were given legal permission to sell them to other third parties. No one could reject this program legally.
The five eyes can force different large-scale companies into handing over customer data. Many people have tried to reveal the activities of the five eyes. However, the public still chooses to remain blind and unaware of what is being done with their private online information and how government agencies can be exploiting it.
Your favorite social media platform may very well be on this game of selling your private data to the government. Facebook and Google are well-known platforms in this case. The five eyes have global surveillance almost everywhere.
This agreement was first put forward in 1943 and was known as the British-U.S. Communication Intelligence Agreement (BRUSA). This was connected with the:
- Signal intercept networks of the U.K.
- Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
- The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).
This was an agreement for cooperation between the five countries in terms of information sharing. In short, it was known as the five eyes.
The information-sharing was done through the STONEGHOST network, and it is through this network that people believe it holds the western world’s top secrets. Besides the UK-USA agreement laying down the rules for intelligence sharing, it was an agreement that created a special relationship between just the U.K. and the USA.
Many governments were unaware of its existence until it was disclosed to the public in 2005. By 2010 the full text of the agreement was revealed to the public and can easily be found online. It is said to be the most significant text in history.
Relation’s with Other Countries
It won’t be a surprise to anyone that the five eyes have been involved with more countries than those within their group. There are said to be other countries also involved in the five eyes but are not officially part of it. These countries include:
- South Korea
Five Eyes China
It’s no doubt that China is a powerhouse, and many countries fear what it may end up doing. This is why the five eyes and its third parties are very much against China.
The distrust against China is at such a high that all of the five eyes have something or the other against their well-known phone brand called Huawei. Five eyes and Huawei have had issues for a while now, especially since the five eyes believe that through these mobiles, China may try to break into their security systems.
Any person owning a phone from Huawei may very well not get the full benefits of a 5G network in the majority of the five eye countries. In Australia, Huawei products have been banned from accessing their 5G network.
The USA has even banned the brand from its government network. This was then followed by New Zealand as well. While Canada still seems to stay neutral in this matter by not doing anything.
However, China is not the only country under the five eyes view. Russia and North Korea, too, seem to have some issues with them. Both countries are well known for their nuclear power; thus, it’s not a surprise that they are being scrutinized carefully.
India also wants to create relations with the five eyes – five eyes India. Maybe it’s due to recent political disagreement. However, India does not want to play the younger brother’s role when joining in with the five eyes. The five eyes and India have a more complicated relationship as the latter seems to plan on keeping good relations with the U.S., China, and Russia.
What is 9 Eyes
The nine eyes are almost exactly the same as the five eyes. However, they do have some added changes, along with some limited access to those added changes. These added changes are the four new countries that work in alliance with the 5 eyes global surveillance.
The members in the nine eyes include:
- The five eyes
These countries were revealed to be a part of the 5 eyes global surveillance. However, they are seen as a mere extension of the five eyes alliance. By expanding their group, the five eyes have a greater chance of getting cooperation from other countries along with additional data from their members.
These four additional countries do not have the same amount of access or high-level authority as the five eyes members do, but they do get access to data and information of other countries, which is still in their favor.
The end goal is to share information and data with each other. This also includes mass surveillance data.
What is 14 Eyes
The fourteen eyes are also similar to the five eyes and nine eyes. The only difference being the further addition of countries. Countries within the fourteen eyes include:
- The five and nine eyes
The five eyes still try to maintain a high power amongst these groups of countries by just putting the focus on surveillance collection and sharing of data amongst the nations. The majority of their third parties’ headquarters are located within the five eyes or their unofficial group members.
The relationship between the fourteen eyes and five eyes is even less close compared to the nine eyes. They do still get the benefit of gaining access to information, recourses, and intelligence, which they might not have normally had.
The official name of these groups of countries is SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR). The main purpose being exchanging military signals intelligence among their members.
Below are the best VPNs outside 14 eyes sight, so that you may feel safe and secure while you browse:
VPNs Located in 5, 9, and 14 Eyes
Which VPN to trust can be tricky business. It’s hard to know who may be working with the 5, 9, and 14 eyes. There are thousands of VPNs available online. Some you may have heard of, while others you have never seen in your life.
However, you would be shocked to know how many VPNs are involved with the 5,9 and 14 eyes. Many VPNs are located within these countries as well. Just because they are located within the country does not mean that every one of them is passing your data onto the government.
When you decide to purchase a VPN look into the following things:
- Fast connection (99% uptime)
- No data logging of any sort
- DNS and I.P. must be protected
- AES encryption
- Several servers
- An automatic kill switch
Here’s a small list of VPNs that are located within and outside the 14 eyes. Look into them wisely as they will be your protectors from corruption:
You might do your best research when choosing a VPN, but it likely that you may end up missing a few points here and there when looking into them.
Remember, every company can claim they do not do a certain thing. But, they very well may be doing it. You may choose a VPN because it says it does not back-up your data, but this can easily be a lie. At the end of the day, you will have to trust one or the other.
VPN is essential for your data security as the government has advanced companies backing them up when it comes to tracking you down and getting your information.
The 5 eyes, 9 eyes, and 14 eyes have their own “security” measures that they take care of when it comes to VPNs. These security measures can be a huge blow for many VPN users that want to use a secure VPN where their data isn’t provided to the government 24/7.
VPNs use encryption so that your data does not get leaked to other people. However, there have been several cases of cyberstalking due to the lack of proper VPN measures.
What is a VPN Jurisdiction?
Every country has its own laws, which means they have their own jurisdiction when it comes to almost anything. The same goes for VPNs. Some countries ban the use of VPNs, making them illegal, while others only allow a hand full to be used.
Having access to VPNs within your country is determined by several policies, laws, and regulations that your government put forward. Every country can either decide to allow a specific VPN or ban it whenever they like.
The only way you can dodge the bullet of a strict country policy against VPN is moving to one that doesn’t have the same laws. However, you look at it, this may not be the best move.
These handful VPNs may very well be workers under the government trying to gain access to your data. Below is a list of the five eyes countries VPN policy:
|Australia||VPNs are legal in Australia. However, any data that passes through the VPN or is stored by them can be accessed by the government.|
|USA||VPNs are legal in the USA. Although the USA is one of the countries that preach about human rights, it still has several controversies about monitoring user data through ISP.|
|The U.K.||VPNs are legal in the U.K. However, even though they are legal, they may still be subject to policies and laws that are put on ISPs as well.|
|New Zealand||VPNs are legal in New Zealand. However, it is emphasized whatever you do on it must also be legal. The government may very well have access to your data if it is needed.|
|Canada||VPNs are legal in Canada. Other than having strict policies relating to data retention and the banning of certain websites, Canada focuses its intelligence agencies on sharing data with other nations.|
In order to stay away out of sight from the eyes, it is essential that you learn about the different privacy services on the internet. There are several ways to secure a safe line and browse without a worry in the world.
These privacy services include tools such as VPNs, Search Engines, and Secure Emails. All of these tools put together can become an essential part of your privacy security.
You may not know this, but even Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Apple work with the 14 eyes. Thus, you should look into getting a new operating system as well. You can try using Linux as an alternative operating system.
Secure Search engines
Google, Yahoo, Bing, and many other search engines keep a record of your private information such as:
- I.P. address
- Unique identifier
- The search terms you use
They use several data collection tools and share your data with other third parties. This means your privacy has been abused for so long without your knowledge. Google is the guiltiest one of all since it is at the top of its users’ data collection.
Sadly, there is no way to stop these search engines from collecting your data if you keep using them. However, you can protect your privacy if you change your search engine to a private search engine.
Private search engines don’t look into your personal information, and neither do they track nor share it. Keep in mind though VPNs are still secure to use; however, your security increases further if you combine the use of both private search engines along with VPNs.
Below are some of the best search engines to use for your security:
- Disconnect Search
Some of these search engines may save some of your data, but they do not use it for personal use or give it to any other third party.
Other than using secure search engines, it is also important for you to change your email. Your email can easily be accessed by the government, especially since the most common ones used are Gmail and Yahoo mail, which are both parts of Google and Yahoo.
As discussed before, Google and Yahoo work with the fourteen eyes; thus, your information is readily provided to the government whenever they need it.
The need for a secure email service is crucial as your email is something only you should have access to and no one else. Your most private matters are connected to this service and should not be violated by the governments.
Below are some of the factors you should consider when trying to pick a secure email:
- PGP support
- Import features
- Email apps
The goal of private email is to keep your other private data secure. Thus, you must look into the following emails to invest in for future use:
There are thousands of VPNs available online, but out of these thousand VPNs, only a handful of VPNs are worth looking into. Majority VPNs are either not secure enough or work with third parties by sharing your personal information.
The whole purpose behind VPNs is to secure your privacy, yet the majority fail to do so. Out of the fourteen eyes, you must be aware of the five eyes more than anyone else as they share and access the most data.
Below are some of the best VPNs outside 5 eyes that are also the best against 9 eyes and 14 eyes:
The majority of people around the world still believe that you don’t need to get a VPN in this day and age. But many do not realize that in today’s day and age, your privacy can easily be leaked to millions of people online.
You may think you do not need a VPN since you have done nothing wrong and thus will not be a target of the fourteen eyes since they only go after criminals and terrorists. But there are several reasons why you should get a VPN to protect yourself from the five eyes and other third parties that should have no right over your personal data.
Don’t treat your connection to the internet like it is an open invitation for anyone to access your data. You can either choose to let companies exploit their power or take action to change that. Many companies believe they have a right over your information just because you showed a slight interest in their products.
All of these concerns can be avoided and fixed by just following a few simple things in life. Your use of a VPN along with other privacy tools will allow you to feel forever secure as you browse through the internet. This does not just apply to the 5 eyes; it also applies to cyber stalkers and hackers, with so many eyes around the world who knows who is trying to access your data.
Images via Pixabay.
About the author
Ali Qamar is the founder of PrivacySavvy, which he started out of the sheer passion for making every internet user privacy savvy. Ali has always been concerned about security and privacy for the general public and very libertarian. He has been a privacy advocate even before Edward Snowden appeared with his revelations about NSA's mass surveillance.
Ali graduated with a computing degree from the leading IT college in Pakistan, so he boasts a background in this area. He has an accountable understanding of the technical sides of encryption, VPNs, and privacy.
Ali is regularly quoted in the privacy and security reports by the local press. His contributions have been featured in HackRead, SecurityAffairs, Ehacking, Intego, Livewire, Business.com, InfosecMagazine, and many more publications online. Ali is naturally attracted to transforming things.