Why VPN Services Based in 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes are a Threat to Your Privacy

last updated: 06 May 2019 written by: Arthur Flank

Before the existence of 5 eyes, 9 eyes and 14 eyes alliances, there is nothing threatening that makes users to worry about protecting their online privacy.

After the Second World War, the most advanced nations of that time, UK and USA, wanted to incorporate signals intelligence for mass surveillance purposes.

For this they signed a UKUS treaty. It was initiated on 5th March 1946, following by 1943 BRUSA and 1941 Atlantic Charter agreement.

By the time passes, this mass surveillance agreement starts spreading to three more countries; Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

And the alliance of these mass surveillance just got bigger and bigger by adding countries from West Germany, the Philippines, and Nordic Countries.

Nowadays you may hear about these alliances with the name of 5 eyes, 9 eyes, and 14 eyes countries. Additionally, these “eyes” alliances get very proactive after the 9/11 incident.

These five, nine and fourteen eyes alliances are targeting netizen by monitoring them.

And  this is hard to believe that most of the countries who are the part of these alliances raise voice regarding privacy rights.

However, in reality, they trash out all their country’s policies by collecting data and spying on every possible individual they could globally.

This is why I come up with this topic since it has great relevance with online users and VPN providers.

For now, one thing I want you to keep in your mind is that if you are living in any of these alliances countries, your privacy is in danger.

Five Eyes

Also known as “FVEY,” these Five Eyes Alliance is the real initiator of mass surveillance program which was started in the form of UKUSA agreement that I mentioned earlier.

five eyes, nine eyes and fourteen eyes

The USA and UK alliance continued throughout the cold war. And as time passes, the coalition of two expands to five:

  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Canada

Back in 2013, Edward Snowden was the person who revealed the horrifying reality of this FVEY alliance. Moreover, this also exposed the real face of US government mass surveillance activities with the help of its allies.

This FVEY alliance works secretly on this mass surveillance agenda for decades.

In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that when he was a part of NSA as a contractor, the FVEY alliance shared intelligence on the Soviet Union during the cold war.

According to Wikipedia, Five Eyes, with the help of following surveillance agencies, records, and collect your online activities:

Mass surveillance agencies working for five eyes countries

Here are the things which may help you in understanding how this 5 eye alliance planned to keep an eye on you and tracks all your data:

  • First, they create terrorism: 9/11 attacks is the most prominent example of a fake terrorist attack.
  • For protecting you from these terror attacks, they use the “War on Terror” slogan to monitor and keep your online data.

The excuse of “War on Terror” works exceptionally well to spy every activity of us. But isn’t fair at all. You want to know why? I will explain to you later.

United States

The strategy executes by US government is devilish when it comes to citizens’ online privacy.

Since the US official authorities are invasive to keep a constant eye on their citizen online activities, it does not ban VPN service.

The count of US VPN providers is around 45-49 (list contains one of the finest VPN providers globally).

Since the USA is a part of FVEY, it means all the VPN providers who are located in the US are forced to share your data with US authorities upon their request.

This shows how pernicious to use a VPN service that is a part of the USA region.

One more thing proves here regarding USA that all the acts and laws regarding protecting online privacy and freedom of speech are hollow.

When I further dig into the past and recent history of the USA related to Mass Surveillance, I found that NSA has power and access to the data of all the tycoons of the tech industry.

From ISP (Internet Service Provider) to Telecom services in USA all have the permissions to records your online and call history and send it to mass surveillance agencies.

Moreover, the new policy in USA gives authority to ISPs that they have the legal right to record citizen online activities and even sell this to the third party.

By making it legal, USA official authorities have all the right to access all the online activities.

Involving big names of social platforms like Facebook to top tech companies like Google and Microsoft.

Think logically if tech giants of the industry cannot deny giving the access of users’ database then how a VPN provider can deny them?

United Kingdom

It would be best if you kept this in mind that both USA and the United Kingdom are founders of five eyes, nine eyes, and fourteen eyes alliances.

It means you can expect same level of unethical acts and destroyer of citizens’ online privacy similar to USA.

The kingdom of Queen Elizabeth seems to be a big supporter of its citizens’ privacy rights. But in reality, they are the real invader of their public privacy.

This is why they make the mass surveillance mandatory on the people of United Kingdom. How UK government keeps monitoring on residents online activities?

Well since the existence of Investigatory Power Act in 2016, All the telecom and Internet Service Providers in UK have been monitoring all the citizens ongoing online activities.

The collection of data done by UK ISPs and Telecoms includes the following:

  • Browsing History
  • Connection Times
  • Text Messages

All the data is stored for about two years and available for all the UK spying agencies and also for it alliances without requiring any warrant.

Australia

Due to a corporation with FVEY countries, Australia also imposes immoral policies to monitor and record online activities of its residents.

However, like other Five eyes countries, it does not stop citizens from using VPN service. According to Aussies laws and regulations, it clearly contradicts the freedom of speech.

To add, under this law they even allow spying agencies to regulate all the online functions in a way to keep a constant eye on their citizens’ activities.

Even the governing parties in Australia use opt-in filtering program to block offensive, illegal and pornographic content.

On behalf of this program, they get all the right to record and tracking Australians’ online activities.

Canada

Many of you who lives in Canada right might be in a great surprise when you see your country’s name in the list of mass surveillance alliances.

Because Canada considers as one of the open-minded countries which offers its best for the welfare of its citizens.

But the propaganda behind this humbleness is full of dark secrets. Believe me or not, just like other countries, Canada also runs different mass surveillance agencies by forcing ISPs to be corporate with them.

The country has privacy laws that grant access to spying agencies for sharing data with its Five eyes alliances.

New Zealand

Similar to its and being a part of Five Eyes countries, New Zealand is a dangerous place for your online privacy.

Just like other Five Eyes countries, New Zealand also implements laws for data retention and sharing it with other FVEY countries.

Although, the restriction on hate speech is easy-going as compare to its neighbor country, it does not mean that locals online activities are not monitored continuously by countries intelligence agencies.

In short, a part of its leniency towards hate speech, it does all the other activities like other Five eyes countries to keep a continuous eye on citizens online activities.

 

All of these Five eyes countries have broad authority and power to force different tech organizations to share data with them.

Specifically for UK and USA surveillance agencies by using the power of gag-orders without any warrant.

Nine Eyes

Following is the list of Nine Eyes countries who are the extension of Five Eyes alliance:

  • France
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • Norway

Wikipedia and some other major sources quote the presence of Nine Eyes alliance. In simple terms, it is just an extension of FVEY alliance with same mass surveillance data sharing and corporation standards.

5 eyes 9 eyes and 14 eyes

Edward Snowden in his one of interview revealed that NSA runs a humongous structure with the name of Foreign Affairs Directorate, who keeps the relationship strong between mass surveillance countries.

If you talk about how robust Nine Eyes is? Well other than FIVEY alliance, these 9 Eyes countries work on a bit small spying channels since they do not have access to tech giants.

Nine Eyes is different in the sense that their channels for intelligence-sharing are narrower, and do not include access to technologies like the Stone Ghost.

However, Nine eyes do not have access to Stone Ghost, but still, VPN services based in these countries are prone to your privacy.

Norway

As compare to another netizen in the world, individuals who live in Norway are more sensitive to privacy.

For this, they can use VPN technology to maintain their online privacy and personal data since there is no restriction on using VPN service in Norway.

Although make sure that the VPN provider you are going to choose is not located in the Five, Nine and Fourteen Eyes jurisdiction.

Moreover, just like New Zealand, Norway also gives freedom of speech to his residents and do not charge them with fine or charges.

If you see, the country’s name does not come up in the list OpenNet Initiative (ONI) members. However, Norway is still considered a part of Nordic Countries by ONI.

It means just like FVEY countries, Norway collects residents’ data and shares it with mass surveillance members.

France

France also allows its locals to use VPN services without any restrictions. Moreover, the laws and regulations of the country favor freedom of speech online.

Apart from violent, racial and child abusing content, France allows its citizens to access unfiltered content.

But it does not allow to access illegally copyright and pirated content. Moreover, for this, the country implemented three strikes legislation to control it.

To add, the country also uses Article 18 law that gives official authorities the right to restrict content that involves:

“In case of violation, or where there is a serious risk of violation, of the maintenance of public order, the protection of minors, the protection of public health, the preservation of interests of the national defense, or the protection of physical persons.”

Although, the country names come under the Nine Eyes alliance, which means it corporates with other mass surveillance countries and monitors online activities of its residents.

In short, you should avoid using any VPN service based in France.

Netherlands

Residents of the Netherlands adore one of the most restriction and censorship-free internet service since government does not impose any restrictions or regulations against it.

However, when it comes to copyright and pirated content, the country bans online services according to Dutch Court policy.

However, due to the part of Nine Eyes alliance, the country does keep sharp eye on their residents under precedent for residents regulations.

Also Netherlands uses the same mass surveillance spying network incorporated by other FVEY and Nine eyes countries.

Denmark

Similar to Norway, Denmark does not have any ONI profile, although it is still a part of Nordic Countries. According to ONI, Denmark does not imposes any filtering.

Like other members of Nine Eyes alliance does regulate strict policies to block infringement, pirated and violent content.

Denmark government back in December 2008 filtered around 4000 unreliable and vague websites.

Since Denmark is also a part of Nine Eyes alliance, it does monitor its resident’s online activities and share with other members of partnership. This is why it is not safe to use a VPN service based in Denmark.

Fourteen Eyes

The expansion of mass surveillance alliances does not limit to Five Eyes and Nine Eyes countries. However, it got bigger and bigger, and with the addition of five more countries, it becomes 5, 9, and 14 eyes surveillance.

Edward Snowden recognizes Fourteen Eyes with SIGNIT Seniors Europe (SSEUR). However, many of you might think that these Fourteen Eyes Alliance is stronger than FVEY in Europe.

14-eyes

But in reality, it has the same level of authority and power like Nine Eyes or maybe even less than that.

The only thing that remains consistent with this acquisition is the benefiting of Governments from access to resource and intelligence; they previously did not have access to.

Here is the list of Fourteen Eyes countries:

  • Germany
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Spain

Italy

There is no such kind of restriction on using a VPN at all. However, this country considers as a part of Fourteen Eyes alliance; it means the internet services to provide citizens data to government.

So, if you are living in Italy and looking for a tool that hides your online activities, you can opt for VPN service.

Though, it would help if you kept this in mind that the VPN service you are going to choose must be outside 5, 9, 14 eyes countries.

As compare to other mass surveillance alliance countries, the authorities are very slow in eliminating online privacy concerns. But it does allow online freedom of speech.

Not to mention, the country’s progress towards restricting citizens from the websites that promote unethical content is pretty slow as compared to other countries

Sweden

There is no restriction on using a VPN service in Swede, and surprisingly ONI did not find single evidence regarding filtering. However, the country still considers as a part of the Nordic Countries.

Although the country is based in the parts of the European region but follows a governing structure same as New Zealand.

The Sweden official authorities also provide leniency in matters of freedom of speech and secure online privacy.

Apart from giving the freedom of speech, Sweden does take strict against prohibited content. The prohibited content includes copyright, pirated content, and websites like Pirate Bay and Torrenting.

However, since a part of Fourteen Eyes Alliance, the country does keep an eye on the online activities of residents for the sake of so-called security purposes.

Germany

Germany is the least expected country to be a part of Five eyes, Nine eyes, and Fourteen eyes alliances. However, ONI sets Germany clear from all four aspects including political, social, internet and security.

I believe that if Edward Snowden did not expose about 5, 9, and 14 eyes alliance, I would never get to know that Germany is a part of the mass surveillance program.

Nevertheless, the country does claim about protecting their local’s online privacy. Though they also implement policies to censor the internet accordingly.

According to Germany authorities, the reason to regulate the policies regarding censorship is to stop any fake news, hate speech and to protect the privacy of individuals.

Belgium & Spain

According to ONI, both Spain and Belgium does not have any profile and using VPN service is legal to use in both countries since there is an extensive filtering process regarding content on the Internet.

However, since both countries fall under Fourteen Eyes Alliance, I would say, both countries are not safe for your online activities at all.

Though, you can use VPN service that is based outside the 5 eyes, 9 eyes and 14 eyes jurisdiction to protect your online privacy.

Additional Cooperating Countries with Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes

Israel

Israel has a great significance for FVEY alliance. According to many sources, it has been proven that Israel is a very close relationship with the US government and its mass surveillance agency NSA.

5 eyes, nine eyes and 14 eyes

Here are some facts about Israel as close partner Five Eyes alliance

  • According to Wikipedia, Israel is a partner with mass surveillance agencies of Five Eyes countries.
  • According to Guardian, Israel does not need any warrant to access data bank of NSA.
  • Shady Companies with Ties to Israel Wiretap the USA for the NSA

Singapore, Japan, and South Korea

Believe me or not, South Korea and Singapore are partners with FVEY alliance to share their residents’ data.

Japan, on the other hand, found to be a close partner with the US government for mass surveillance objectives.

List of Mass Surveillance agencies Works for Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Countries

USA

  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

 

UK

  • Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
  • Secret Intelligence Service (SIS a.k.a. MI6)
  • Defence Intelligence (DI)
  • Security Service (MI5)

Canada

  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)
  • Communications Security Establishment (CSE)
  • Canadian Forces Intelligence Command (CFINTCOM)

Australia

  • Defence Intelligence Organization (DIO)
  • (ASD) – Australian Signals Directorate
  • (ASIO) – Australian Secret Intelligence Service
  • (ASIS) – Australian Security Intelligence Organization
  • (AGO) – Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organization

New Zealand

  • New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS)
  • Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)
  • Directorate of Defence Intelligence and Security (DDIS)

List of VPN Providers Based in 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes

US

  • Anonymizer VPN
  • Ace VPN
  • Hide. Me
  • Hide My IP
  • Hide All IP
  • Hotspot Shield
  • Hoxx VPN
  • IPVanish
  • LiquidVPN
  • Norton Wi-Fi Privacy
  • Private Tunnel
  • Private Internet Access
  • ProXPN
  • RA4W VPN
  • SwitchVPN
  • StrongVPN
  • Speedify
  • SlickVPN
  • TouchVPN
  • TorGuard
  • VPN Unlimited
  • VyprVPN

UK

  • HideMyAss!
  • SaferVPN
  • ZoogVPN

Australia

  • Celo VPN
  • VPNSecure Me

 

Canada

Norway

  • Opera VPN

Netherland

  • Goose VPN
  • ShadeYouVPN
  • VPN4All
  • WifiMask
  • WASEL Pro
  • ProXPN
  • RootVPN

France

  • ActiVPN

Denmark

  • BeeVPN
  • CitizenVPN
  • Unlocator

Italy

  • AirVPN

Sweden

  • AzireVPN
  • FrootVPN
  • IPredator
  • st
  • Mullvad
  • OVPN
  • PRQ
  • PrivateVPN

Germany

  • Avira Phantom
  • ZenMate
  • ChillGlobal
  • GoVPN
  • me
  • Steganos
  • Me

Conclusion

In short, any VPN service that is located in the jurisdiction of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes countries are not safe to use.

Think logically, how can a VPN service that is based in these “Eyes” countries protect your privacy if they have to corporate with official authorities to share your data.

However, jurisdiction is one of the factors to consider when choosing the best VPN service to protect your online existence.

One of the objectives of writing this blog is to provide you information regarding why jurisdiction matters a lot when you are choosing a VPN service.

Moreover, to obtain a high level of online privacy, it is necessary to consider the jurisdiction of VPN provider.

However, the things do not end up here since several VPN services are not coming under the jurisdiction of 5 eyes, 9 eyes and 14 eyes alliance but still shares users data with them.

Therefore, the trust factor is also a major factor when you talk about VPN services jurisdiction.

In the end, I hope you would find this blog informative and help you to choose the best VPN service to protect yourself from 5 eyes, 9 eyes and 14 eyes countries.

Though if you still have any query or confusion, feel free to contact us by mentioning your comment below.