As awareness of global surveillance grows, more people are looking for information about the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance alliances. This guide is regularly updated with new information and gives you everything you need to know.
The terms “Five Eyes“, “Nine Eyes“, and “14 Eyes” often appear in the privacy community, especially when discussing VPNs and other privacy tools.
In short, these are just international surveillance alliances representing various countries around the world. These surveillance alliances work together to collect and share mass surveillance data with each other. This network has been spying on people for decades, with established policies going back to World War II, as we’ll discuss below.
The state agencies behind these efforts often work with internet service providers and other large tech companies to tap key infrastructure for data surveillance. This turns your internet provider, for example, into a local adversary that is spying on you for state agencies. And no, this is not a theory. These practices are well-documented in the PRISM surveillance documents and also the infamous Room 641a example with AT&T and the NSA. Fortunately, there are some simple solutions to keep your data safe that we’ll cover below.
In this guide we’ll explain all the different “X” eyes surveillance alliances and why this topic is important when choosing privacy tools. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Five Eyes
- Nine Eyes
- 14 Eyes
- NSA and GCHQ cooperation within 5 Eyes
- ECHELON surveillance system
- The importance of avoiding 5 Eyes
- Recommended privacy services (outside of 5 Eyes)
- Secure email services
- Private search
So let’s get started.
The Five Eyes (FVEY) surveillance alliance includes the following countries:
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
The history of this alliance goes back to WWII and the UKUSA Agreement, which was officially enacted after the war in 1946. This agreement formalized a partnership between the United Kingdom and the United States for gathering and sharing intelligence. The partnership continued throughout the Cold War and has only strengthened since the “Global War on Terror” kicked off in the early 2000s.