The 5 Eyes Alliance Can Spy On You Wherever You Are, Here's What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

When Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was secretly spying on American citizens, people began to realize the inherent fragility of the world we are all living in. Snowden’s expose shed some light on the murky, interconnected intelligence networks around the world. Most countries have comprehensive intelligence networks, and while they are legally prohibited from spying on their own citizens, collaborations between these agencies provide a bit of a loophole.

Five major nations have banded together to form the Five Eyes alliance. These countries are the US, Canda, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. They share several similarities such as being former British colonies, Anglophone nations as well as having overlapping geopolitical interests with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Another common thread between these nations is that they were all on the same side during World War 2. hence, it is unsurprising that they decided to join forces in 1946. With the USSR emerging as another superpower to the East, challenging the neoliberal world order that the US and its allies were trying to cement, the Five Eyes alliance attempted to keep the rising red tide at bay.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the NSA is the unofficial leader of the Five Eyes alliance. Signatories to the agreement are able to access vast quantities of NSA data, and they return the favor by sharing secret information that they may be in possession of.

The other four countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK are referred to as second parties. They have the most unrestricted access to NSA data, but it bears mentioning that several other nations have signed on as third parties.

NATO members are all automatically included in the third party list, as are other close US allies such as South Korea. They have more restricted access to the NSA’s database, and they also lack other privileges.

Five Eye members are not allowed to spy on each others citizens. This privilege does not extend to third party signatories, thereby running the risk of their confidential secrets falling into the wrong hands. While the general assumption is that Five Eye nations don’t spy on each other, there is no way to prove this. After all, the NSA shouldn’t have been spying on American citizens either, but this did not stop them from trying to keep tabs on people that had not even committed a crime to begin with.

Apart from the Five Eyes alliance, there are a couple other intelligence networks that include the same five nations along with a few others. First and foremost, the Nine Eyes alliance widens the network to include non-English speaking nations whose goals and interests align with those of the US and its closest allies.

Denmark and Norway joined the Nine Eyes network from Scandinavia, with the Netherlands and France also joining from Central and Western Europe. One thing that bears mentioning is that the Nine Eyes alliance is not as official as the Five Eyes alliance. It comprises third party signatories that have certain exclusive privileges, so it is more of an unofficial agreement that does not possess any type of legal backing with all things having been considered and taken into account.

Now, there is another labyrinthine intelligence network that hardly anyone knows about, namely the 14 Eyes Alliance. One again, the Five Eyes and their formidable intelligence apparatus as at the heart of this alliance, as are the four nations that are included in the nine eyes, but five other major players are thrown into the mix as well.

Each and every one of the members of the additional five are from Europe, including Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Spain and Italy. This clearly shows that the Western powers of the world have extremely close ties, since only North American and European nations are official signatories in any capacity whatsoever.

In spite of the fact that this is the case, a few other nations that go beyond European borders are also seeing an increased level of prominence in global intelligence affairs. We have already mentioned South Korea’s inclusion as a third party, with other powerful East Asian nations such as Japan and Singapore also joining it in that regard. Israel is another unofficial member of this exclusive club, with the US frequently propping it up through the provision of military aid.

India and Thailand are also seeing quite a bit of prominence on this front. India is rapidly growing, and it may soon become the largest economy in Asia and perhaps even the entire world. It may be the sole nation that can compete with China for Asian dominance, so Western powers are attempting to bring it into the fold.

China has its own rival intelligence network that it has been building for quite some time now. The rising East Asian great power could potentially end up becoming a superpower on par with the US itself, and it has a range of regional powers that is relying on.

The name of China’s alliance is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It includes countries in the Russosphere such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan as well as Russia itself, along with Pakistan which is notable considering it is a nuclear power. Interestingly, even India is a part of this alliance despite the inclusion of its greatest political rival. This makes India the only nation that is able to toe the line and not pick sides in the global war for domination.

While it might seem like these nations are collaborating in an entirely above board manner, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We only know about the informal 14 Eyes Coalition due to a leak, which just goes to show that governments would much prefer to keep these types of things under wraps.

So, what does this mean for the average consumer? Well, for starters, it means that we all need to start being a lot more careful about the manner in which our data is transferred and stored. Given how frequently these nations share data with each other, consumers must be informed about how they can protect themselves.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, these countries can easily bypass what they are referring to as the lowest common privacy denominator. Mass surveillance is at an all time high, and it is up to us to keep ourselves safe from prying eyes.

Many of these countries are trying to codify their attempts at mass surveillance. If any of this legislation ends up getting passed through the requisite legislative bodies, we may end up living in a society where no one would be able to keep a secret from the government.

There are several ways in which we can all keep intrusions at bay. First and foremost, it is imperative that we start encrypting all of our data. The single best way to go about doing that is by using some kind of a VPN.

A Virtual Private Network sends your data through various digital servers, thereby obscuring your footprint from anyone that may be trying to spy on you. Your internet service provider can monitor your online activities and share it with intelligence agencies if they present a warrant, but with a VPN, they would not have this data to begin with unless they procure it from the VPN provider.

Unfortunately, many VPNs are located in countries that are members of the Five Eyes network. While they might not necessarily give your data up, the countries that participate in this agreement are known for stopping at nothing to get what they need.

A far superior solution would be to use a VPN that is based in a nation that is not a signatory of any intelligence sharing agreements whatsoever. Now, with so many countries freely sharing intelligence, is there really a country out there that can stand out in any capacity?

ProtonVPN might be the answer, since its servers are housed in Switzerland which is famous for being the most privacy friendly country in the world. Switzerland has a long history of being neutral in all conflicts. That can be useful because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up keeping your data completely and utterly safe, no matter how powerful the nation demanding it currently happens to be.

The main benefit of Proton VPN is that it uses something called Perfect Forward Secrecy. This generates an entirely new key for your various browsing sessions, thereby making it so that your other sessions will be perfectly safe even if one of them end up being compromised to any extent whatsoever.

Apart from encrypting your data with a VPN, you should also consider using something similar for your emails. The Five Eyes alliance uses something called SIGINT which refers to the interception of transmissions between two points. It was used almost exclusively in warfare, but following the aftermath of the Cold War, it was more and more frequently used to spy on regular everyday citizens.

It stands to reason that your own emails are passing through their filters, but with Proton VPN, these emails will be encrypted. Even if they end up getting intercepted, the information contained within them would not be readable. Only you as well as the intended recipient would be able to read whatever it contains.

Some might also recommend that you use privacy conscious browsers. They don’t collect your data similar to Google Chrome and others, thereby giving you an added level of security that you would certainly be grateful for as the global surveillance network becomes ever more powerful.

ProtonVPN yet again offers something quite useful in this regard. Their email service uses a zero trust protocol, which is a level of encryption so advanced that even the company itself would not be able to crack it. On the off chance that an intelligence agency is successfully able to convince Proton Mail to hand over your data, they can simply state that they are unable to do that even if they wanted to.

This allows you to depend on technology rather than an institution and its ethics and morality. No matter how trustworthy a company seems, things like zero trust encryptions can ensure that your privacy will remain unassailable for the foreseeable future.

It would also be extremely useful for you to take a look at messaging apps that offer encryption. Signal and Telegram both stand out, although even something like WhatsApp might get the job done thanks to its end to end encryption.

The global agenda is turning mass surveillance into a foregone conclusion. Even if you don’t live in any of the countries that were mentioned in the Fourteen Eyes Alliance or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, you might still find yourself under surveillance without any knowledge of what is going on.

The use of ProtonVPN, Proton Mail and other types of services in a similar vein could prove to be the last line of defense. The governments of the world clearly don’t care about their citizens, rather they only seem to care about furthering their own ambitions. A decentralized, encrypted future is the only way forward, at least for those that don’t want to be under the microscope at all times.

CountryFive EyesNine EyesFourteen EyesOther
United Kingdom
United States
New Zealand
South Korea

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