Governments all around the world have their eyes (and ears) on the web. To be fair, they have legitimate reasons for that as some piece of information could help them prevent terrorist attacks, which is (obviously) a good thing.
On the other hand, as they’re doing “their thing” online, these government agencies also happen to spy on users. And yes, we are talking about specific countries.
In this article, we’re uncovering some of the countries in the western hemisphere that are watching what’s happening on the internet; cause we’re taking it for granted that governments of China and Russia are spying on their citizens as well as citizens of other countries.
Specifically, we’ll be talking about / explaining “Five Eyes”, “Nine Eyes” and “Fourteen Eyes”. Read on for details…
It all started with the UKUSA Agreement network that has later evolved into Five Eyes — often abbreviated as FVEY — with the founding members agreeing to collect, analyze, and share intelligence between themselves. The program, called ECHELON, was initially developed to help the sharing of intelligence on the Soviet Union and China during the Cold War.
Ever since it has evolved beyond military and diplomatic goals to also become a global system for interception of private and commercial communications.
While it is against the law for the U.S government to spy on its own citizens (even though they did it), they might ask a close ally like the UK to do that for them.
The Five Eyes nations include
- New Zealand
Building on top of the original Five Eyes program, Nine Eyes added the following 4 countries to the communication interception alliance:
There is always room for growth and so the Nine Eyes program was eventually expanded into Fourteen Eyes. The official name of this group is SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR) and its proclaimed mission is to exchange military signal intelligence among the participating countries.
Nonetheless, it is commonly referred to as the Fourteen Eyes, and in addition to the Nine Eyes countries, it also includes:
Even more eyes…
When it comes to surveillance, governments around the world are seemingly eager to cooperate, and unsurprisingly other nations are joining this controversial trend. Among those that have been caught contributing to and benefiting from the Fourteen Eyes alliance are:
- South Korea
With all this in mind, we have to ask ourselves…
What can we do to stay anonymous online?
Use a VPN, of course. Even better, get a VPN that is not headquartered in one of the countries listed above. Or at very least, get the one with the proven zero logs policy so even if authorities knock on a VPN provider’s doors, it won’t be able to help them out with its logs containing only non-identifiable information.
We suggest you start with our list of Top 5 VPNs, which may have some players in the countries listed above, but they most definitely have the zero-logs policy in place. And that’s just the way we like it. 😉