Bitcatcha's content is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

What Is the Five Eyes Alliance? – Its Dangers and What It Means for You

Daren Low
April 23, 2024


In recent years, there’s been growing concern over the issue of online privacy. With the rise of social media and big data, our online behavior is being tracked and monitored more than ever.


One of the biggest privacy threats comes from the so-called “Five Eyes Alliance” – which shares intelligence and surveillance information. The good news is there is a way to protect yourself from unwarranted eyes – starting with ysing security tools like a free secure browser and a decent VPN.



What Is the Five Eyes Alliance?


what is 5 eyes alliances featured image


The Five Eyes Alliance (FVEY), also known as the Anglophone Intelligence Community, is an intelligence-sharing alliance between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – established in 1955.


The primary purpose of the Five Eyes alliance is to share intelligence in order to combat international terrorism and other threats to national security.


As noble as that sounds, the truth is darker. The countries involved in the alliance have been accused of mass surveillance and conducting espionage.


What’s more, the Five Eyes has been criticized for its lack of transparency and accountability.


There are concerns that the countries involved in the alliance can spy on each other’s citizens with impunity – aka, without fear of consequence. There are also fears that the information shared between the countries could be used to violate human rights.


But this alliance, as it is today, wasn’t really the goal – it all started with a multilateral agreement crucial to WWII – the UKUSA Agreement.



What Is the UKUSA Agreement?


The UKUSA Agreement is a bilateral agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States to share intelligence. The agreement was signed in 1946 but was not made public until 2005.


The agreement was originally created vital to World War II cooperation between the UK and the US. In spite of that, the agreement has since been expanded to include intelligence on a wide range of topics, including terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and organized crime.


The UKUSA Agreement has been instrumental in the creation of the Five Eyes. The agreement has allowed for the sharing of intelligence between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


Since then, other countries joined the alliance creating a grand total of 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes.



Differences among 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes Alliances


The 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances are similar intelligence-sharing agreements among countries but with different members.


The 5 Eyes alliance is the original intelligence-sharing agreement among the five countries. The 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes alliances are both offshoots of this original agreement.


What is the 9 Eyes Alliance?


The 9 Eyes alliance was created in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. It includes the 5 Eyes countries plus , France, Netherlands, and Norway.


The four additional members are given the same resources as 5 Eyes. Still, they cannot access all of the collected data.


This alliance permits these countries to collect and share intelligence on their citizens with one another.


Since then, the 9 Eyes countries have worked together to share intelligence and thwart terrorist activities. The 9 Eyes alliance has been credited with foiling a number of terrorist plots, including a 2006 plot to bomb transatlantic flights bound for the United States.


What is the 14 Eyes Alliance?


The 14 Eyes alliance is even larger and includes all of the countries in the 9 Eyes alliance, plus Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.


The primary purpose of the 14 Eyes surveillance alliance is to coordinate the exchange of military signals intelligence among its members.


14 Eyes may not be as potent as the other two, but it does not mean they are less involved with mass surveillance and intelligence sharing.


These alliances have been criticized by privacy advocates because they allow member countries to bypass domestic laws that protect citizens’ privacy.


For example, the UK’s spying program, Tempora collected data from undersea fiber optic cables. This program would have been illegal if it had been conducted within the UK, but because it was done overseas, it was not subject to UK law.


These alliances also make it easy for member countries to spy on each other’s citizens. For example, documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the NSA spied on Angela Merkel’s phone calls, a former German Chancellor.



What Are the Dangers of the Five Eyes Alliance?


The Five Eyes alliance is a powerful force in the world today. While its intentions may be good, there are some serious concerns about its impact on privacy and civil liberties.


The main aim of the Five Eyes alliance is to collect and share intelligence in order to combat global threats. Just like how things change over time, there are some concerns that this alliance could be used to violate the privacy of citizens from member countries. This is far from its real purpose.


cyber security

Five Eyes can pose a danger to the security of millions.


  • Threat to privacy
    One of the biggest dangers of the Five Eyes alliance is that it could be used to collect mass surveillance data. This data could be used to track individuals’ online activity and monitor their communications. This poses a serious threat to privacy and could be used to infringe on civil liberties.
  • Inadequate regulation of sharing information
    Another danger of the Five Eyes alliance is that it could lead to information sharing between member countries that is not subject to adequate oversight or regulation.
  • Sharing sensitive information
    This could result in sensitive information being shared without the knowledge or consent of those involved. This could have serious implications for national security and individual rights.


These concerns must be addressed to ensure that individuals’ rights are protected.



How To Avoid the Five Eyes Alliance


When it comes to online privacy, there’s a lot to be aware of Five Eyes’ threats to online privacy.


By understanding how the Five Eyes alliance operates and taking steps to avoid them, you can protect yourself from their dangers.


Firstly – it is important to know what kind of data you share online.


The Five Eyes alliance has access to a lot of data, including metadata from phone calls and emails. If you are not careful about what kind of data you share online, you could be putting yourself at risk.


One of the ways to avoid the dangers of the Five Eyes alliance is to use the Tor browser.


Tor browser is a web browser that allows you to search the internet anonymously and protects you from any traffic analyses.


Another way is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your data and routes it through a server – in another country if you wish. Using the best VPN can help you stop the alliance from eavesdropping on your information. This makes it much more difficult for the Five Eyes countries to collect and share your data. They’re typically much faster than using the Tor browser.


Are VPNs part of the Five Eyes?


There is a lot of confusion about which VPN providers are part of the Five Eyes.


ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark are not part of the Five Eyes. This is because they operate out of countries that aren’t part of the original alliance.



When choosing a VPN provider, it is important to choose one that is reputable and has a strong privacy policy.



How a VPN Works Against Five Eyes


If you’re concerned about the Five Eyes mass surveillance program, a VPN can be a great way to protect yourself.


But how does a VPN work against Five Eyes, and what should you consider when choosing one?


person using a VPN on laptop

A Virtual Private Network can help keep your online activities private. (credit: Pexels)


A VPN is a tool that helps to protect your online privacy and security.


When you connect to the internet, your device sends out an IP address that can be used to track your location. A VPN encrypts your connection and hides your real IP address, making it much more difficult for third parties or government agencies to track your online activity.


Another way to use a VPN is to connect to a server with a different protocol than your ISP.


This can prevent your ISP from seeing what you are doing online and make it more difficult for them to throttle your connection or sell your data.


In addition, a VPN can also provide access to blocked websites and content by connecting to a server in another country. You can bypass government censorship and access the internet freely. For example, a VPN in China bypasses blocked sites and apps in the country.



Hide Away from Five Eyes Surveillance


What do you think about the Five Eyes alliance?


Do you believe it is necessary for national security, or that it violates privacy rights?


At the end of the day, we believe everyone has the right to privacy and anonymity. If you’re concerned about protecting yourself online, a VPN is a great tool to defend yourself against Five Eyes, and any other undesirables, when using the internet.




VPN Guides and Best VPN Services

What is VPN and how does it protect you from online threats? Check out all curated resources below.