When talking about international intelligence-sharing agreements, things can get complicated fast. Here, we’re going to break down what is the 5 Eyes and what exactly you need to do to protect your data while keep your online activity anonymous.
What is the 5-Eyes Alliance?
The Five Eyes Alliance is an intelligence alliance that was originally an intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom aimed at decrypting Soviet Russian intelligence. By the late 1950s, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had also joined the Alliance. These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence that has only strengthened over time, as it has extended to surveillance of online activity.
In addition to the core nations of the Five Eyes Alliance, there are also two other international intelligence-sharing agreements that has been confirmed – Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances. Although they may not be as close-knit as the Five Eyes Alliance, but they still have wide implications for internet privacy.
Five Eyes: US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
Nine Eyes: Five Eyes + Denmark, France, Holland, Norway
Fourteen Eyes: Nine Eyes + Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain
How Does The 5 Eyes Affect You?
The data-sharing practices of these countries have wide implications for internet users. If any of the alliance gains access to your data online, your data can then be shared with other countries.
What Do You Need To Do To Protect Your Data?
1. Knowledge is King
You need to be aware of the online laws and regulations of the country you live in. For example, is the use of VPN legal in your country? In most cases, the answer is yes, but it might not always be the case. You might also want to consider which country is your VPN is registered at. It is strongly recommended that you do not choose a VPN provider based in a country associated with the Five Eyes Alliance if you are concerned about data privacy. This is because your VPN provider could be forced to hand over data to the government about its users. This data could then be shared with other countries in the alliance. You may not even know that your privacy has been breached.
2. No-Logs Policies
The many ways that VPNs can fall under the jurisdiction of various governments is why the best VPNs for data privacy have strict no-logs policies. This means that they do not retain any kind of identifying information about their users or their online activity.