There are many crucial factors that decide the fate of cyber security and online privacy. There are different attack vectors that threaten your security, those include malware, phishing, etc. Apart from that, there are many higher threats.
You might have seen the terms “5 Eyes”, “9 Eyes”, and “14 Eyes” a lot during your research to improve security on your end.
These intelligence alliances formed between different countries around the world. Their main goal is to gather mass information and share mass surveillance data while working collectively.
You’ll be learning about the five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances from scratch. Which will include everything right from what they are, what data they collect to how to protect yourself from such atrocities.
Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance
The Five Eyes intelligence alliance (FVEY) includes the following countries:
- United States
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
If we’re talking about the history of this alliance, it will take us a while. The alliance has roots taking it back to WWII and the UKUSA Agreement. The agreement was officially enacted in 1946 and it stated that the two countries in the agreement will gather and share intelligence with each other.
This was further confirmed by Edward Snowden. He disclosed information that showed collaboration between the United States, the United Kingdom, and other allied countries.
Here are the agencies from the aforementioned countries involved in sharing data and spying on people:
These countries are also notorious for passing laws that take away the fundamental right to privacy. Here are some of their previously passed bills and systems in place:
- United Kingdom: After the Investigatory Powers Act of 2016 was made legal. ISPs and telecommunication companies have been keeping records of browsing history, connection times, and text messages. The data collected is stored for a time period of 2 years and is available to UK’s government agencies without any warrants.
- United States: It’s no lie that the US government agencies are involved in many different surveillance programs. One of them being, NSA’s PRISM Program. However, in March 2017, ISPs were given the legal privilege to record user activity and sell the data to third parties.
- Australia: Similar to the United Kingdom, Australia has implemented data retention laws to facilitate government agencies and spy on their citizens.
Nine Eyes Intelligence Alliance
The 9 eye intelligence alliance includes the following countries:
- 5 Eyes Countries +
Nine Eye Intelligence Alliance has been referenced to and spoken about countlessly. If we check about the whole global scale of the operation these agencies complete. They’re practically spying over a mass population which is why it is so dangerous.
Fourteen Eyes Intelligence Alliance
The 14 eye intelligence alliance includes the following countries:
- 9 Eyes Countries +
The agenda is still the same with the addition of these new countries. Gather intelligence and share them in collaboration with the other government agencies throughout the world. The official name for this group is referred to as SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR).
What techniques do these intelligence alliances use?
There are different mechanics and ways through which these intelligence agencies gather information over a large scale. Though that raw data is useless unless it is analyzed to bring out the actionable intel.
We won’t be going into detail on how these attack vectors work and whatnot since it is not relevant to our agenda here. Without further ado, let’s see how do they gather intelligence.
- Signal Intelligence (SIGINT): Signal Intelligence is referred to as the information gathered by intercepting signals from different devices.
- Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT): Geospatial Intelligence is referred to as the information gathered by the analysis of images and data linked to a particular location.
- Human Intelligence (HUMINT): It is the process of gathering information through the use of a human resource, mostly spies.
In no way, these are the complete techniques used in deriving intelligence over a mass population. However, these are enough reasons to convince you that agencies are indeed spying on the population. It’s not going anywhere unless you take a stand against it.
How does Intelligence Alliances affect me?
It is the most important question to ask. Without knowing the effects it can have on you one can’t decide whether one needs to protect himself from it or not.
Mass surveillance means that anything you do on the internet, offline on your phone i.e texting, calling, will be recorded and stored. This is a breach of privacy. Alright now you might be wondering, you have nothing to hide so it is okay.
Guess what? If the government agencies find you even a teeny tiny bit suspicious, you’ll be in trouble. Everything will be used against you even if it was a joke. It can costs you heavy fines or in some cases, jail time.
Nobody cares about what they’re texting to their friends, but these agencies certainly do. Since it’s a matter of national security for them. This is why it is important to invest in countermeasures to keep yourself hidden from third-party eyes.
VPNs in the Jurisdiction of Intelligence Alliances
While VPN services might help you get rid of the problem. It is important to know that VPN that are located in the jurisdiction of these alliances are risky. Why? It’s aforementioned that intelligence services can get them to surrender their data.
The question is will a private VPN service get its business shutdown or surrender the data it has on you to the services? You know the answer to that.
For your ease, here are the VPN services that operate from within the jurisdiction of 14 eyes.
How to protect yourself from 5 Eyes / 9 Eyes / 14 eyes?
Before we dive into the countermeasures that you can implement. Let’s make one thing clear. If you’re being targeted by the NSA or GCHQ, there’s a high chance that the countermeasures may fail.
Since these are full-fledged security agencies and not much information is available about their capabilities.
Here are some simple steps to keep yourself hidden the heaps of data they’ll collect through different mediums.
Use a trusted VPN
Using a VPN service surely helps out a lot. Since it encrypts all of your network traffic and routes it through a secure tunnel. If they are able to record your data, all they’d be recording is gibberish.
A good VPN service will provide features that’ll keep you safe and anonymous on the internet. Therefore, VPN is your best bet in this case.
Use other privacy tools
In order to maintain anonymity on the web. There are a lot of tools that were curated for different purposes. Even though a VPN will provide security on its own, its better to still be more secure.
Since nothing is 100% secure at all, there’s a good chance that these will help you maintain privacy online.
- Use anonymous search engines.
- Make use of encrypted email services.
- Use a private and secure web-browser.
- Install an ad-blocker
It is important to stay safe and anonymous online. The best way to counter spying by intelligence alliances is to implement security measures on the client’s end. In this case, would be privacy extensions and a VPN.
Furthermore, in advanced cases, users can look forward to ditching their current operating system and switch to a more secure platform with added security features such as Tails Linux. In this way they can make sure they’re always anonymous and secure online.