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Understanding the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes Intelligence Sharing Alliances

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Countries within the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes alliances may be monitoring your online activities, yet using a VPN from a nation outside these alliances could protect your privacy.

Until today, one of the biggest intelligence alliances you may not have heard of was the Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY). Although the Five Eyes countries’ widespread data interception and surveillance are billed as intelligence services for national security, they appear to share more characteristics with international surveillance.

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With all the media coverage of the Russian and Chinese intelligence services, this anglosphere of surveillance seems unheard of. Outside of these alliances, China, Russia, India, and, to a lesser extent, Japan and India, each have their own intelligence communities.

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Here’s what you should know about the alliances and how to use tools like VPNs to protect your online privacy whether you live in a country that is part of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes.

What alliances are the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes?

Groups of nations that have agreed to share intelligence are called the Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes alliances. After World War II, the original Five Eyes organization was established with the goal of exchanging intelligence for the sake of national security.

Following World War II, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) of Britain and the organization that would eventually become the National Security Agency (NSA) signed the UKUSA agreement. British and U.S. intelligence agencies joined forces to share signals intelligence as it grew, eventually ramping up during the Cold War.

The alliances have come under fire in recent years because of their effects on virtual private network (VPN) use and data privacy.

It’s becoming clear that an increasing amount of data is being gathered from regular people as nations become more adept at using the internet and want access to the information this kind of surveillance provides. These agreements for intelligence sharing can range from basic eavesdropping to grave breaches of human rights.

Although the nations listed below make up each group officially, there are additional nations that are 14 allies and might also be involved in information sharing. This implies that although the software developed in those nations might not technically share your information, but still a possibility remains.

The nations participating in the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances along with their affiliate countries

  • Five Eyes countries: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand
  • Nine Eyes countries: The Five Eyes plus Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, and France
  • Fourteen Eyes countries: The Nine Eyes plus Italy, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, and Spain
  • Partners of the 14 Eyes: Israel, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, British Overseas Territories

It is important to note that while all Fourteen Eyes nations exchange information among themselves, the Nine Eyes and Five Eyes are both more reclusive.

Not all of the information gathered by the Five Eyes is accessible to the others, even though the Five Eyes are aware of the data gathered by the partners, the Nine Eyes, and the Fourteen Eyes. The Nine Eyes operate in the same manner. Although the partners exchange information they gather with other alliances, they are not granted access to the data that the alliances gather about member nations.

With the growing demand for heightened surveillance, it appears more nations are aligning with this worldwide monitoring network. This alliance system seemingly operates with a tiered structure of secrecy.

Read more information on the capabilities of the alliances and the use of VPNs.


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