What is Fourteen Eyes? the state that always spies on us

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Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
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There are times when you find things hard to believe were it not for the fact that they can be countered. This is the case of the "Fourteen Eyes" alliance. Of course, in retrospect, everything seems obvious and it is clear that this "collaboration" between states has always been exposed in full light. Yet reading how it is systematically organized is still a shock.

To put it briefly, state surveillance agencies globally have merged into a series of alliances known as Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes, as more and more countries have joined.



Alliance of the Five Eyes

The list of the five countries in this alliance is:

  • United States of America
  • UK
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Australia

This alliance stems from the security agreement between the UK and the US, signed in 1941, and has been updated for the digital age.

The idea behind that agreement was to ensure that allies in the Cold War shared SIGINT (Signal Intelligence) seamlessly. And also the treaty. It was intended to keep this information sharing system hidden, remaining hidden from the public eye until 2005.

Why was the Five Eyes deal hidden from people? Although the whole story is unknown, it seems likely that the spread of both the United States and its accepted allies to carry out detailed and intrusive surveillance could appear outrageous to the public. This agreement likely included sharing information obtained from the ECHELON and STONEGHOST systems, which monitor global electronic communications.

Considering the ongoing scandals involving US security activities, these concerns seem more than justified.

Alliance of the Nine Eyes

We have already talked about the famous five-eye countries, but the alliance does not stop there, as it has been expanded to what is known as the "Nine Eyes", which is an extension of the original alliance list, although it is not known. how formalized is the exchange of information.



The Nine Eyes Alliance country list is:

  • The five countries that make up the "Five Eyes" alliance
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Norway
  • Holland

The main reason why you need to know how this alliance works is mainly due to one person:  Edward Snowden. When he went public with his revelations about the activities of the NSA (National Security Agency) in 2013, Snowden raised the curtain concealing the NSA's surveillance facilities, confirming the Five Eyes list.

According to Snowden, the original 5 eyes are still a privileged group, where members shouldn't keep an eye on other members. This is why - in theory - the United States does not record British government meetings and Australian ministers can browse the internet freely without the NSA registering their activity.

These defenses do not apply so strictly to "Nine Eyes" countries, which are generally referred to as "other countries". information compared to other nations in the rest of the world.

Fourteen eyes alliance

As for the Nine Eyes list, the list of countries in the "Fourteen Eyes" alliance is:

  • Countries of the Five and Nine Eyes Alliance
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Italy

This alliance also arose directly from the Cold War and NATO structures, being called the "SIGINT Elders of Europe" group - also another Pacific Elders group) but does not have the cohesion within the global intelligence groups that the countries in original alliance.


Indeed, this has led to some friction, for example Germany has demanded greater access to intelligence data. In 2015 it emerged that the NSA routinely spied on German government meetings, so it's easy to see why all countries would want the same protection that is afforded to the founders of the Five Eyes group.


In August 2018, the Germans announced the creation of a cybersecurity agency along the lines of the American Defense Advanced Projects Agency (DARPA), with the aim of establishing digital independence from the United States and the United Kingdom. However, this does not seem to be that simple, as evidenced by the entry of the Pallantir company as an initial partner in Gaia-X, the European cloud storage and data protection project.


Recent years have also seen the rise of "pirate parties" in nations like Sweden, which prioritize digital freedom and privacy, making governments less inclined to strengthen their ties with bodies like the NSA.

It is important for us to clarify that most countries - regardless of the "democratic" brilliance with which they adorn their banners, and probably claiming that they do so precisely to defend and save democracy - have developed the ability to spy on and monitor virtually everything. what you do on the net, and they have no problem breaking the limits, or thinking that they will respect, for example, the traffic generated by VPNs.


In this climate of "all potentially bad and therefore we have to spy on them all", Apple's arguments to defend the privacy of its customers acquire even more force, that most of the processes and information are stored in their device, and that the encryption it has no "back doors" through which anyone with sufficient resources can sneak.

What do you think of this information? Have you ever heard of the "Eyes" alliances? Do you know other similar ones?

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