In order to understand what five eye and fourteen eyes are, we have to briefly examine the world during the height of the Cold War. The threat of espionage from sleeper cells or moles was increasingly becoming a concern for many countries. Back then, even with rudimentary technology, secret agencies were convinced that the only way to thwart the looming threat of insiders. Well, how do you do that? You intercept, collect, and monitor everything. This was not an entirely new concept, as similar actions had been taken after World War II. How do you do this on a massive, global scale? Enter Project Echelon.
Echelon is a term that is often used to refer to a global surveillance network that is believed to have been created and maintained by the intelligence agencies of the “Five Eyes” countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). According to some reports, Echelon is capable of intercepting and analyzing virtually all forms of electronic communication, including telephone calls, emails, and faxes. The system is believed to use a network of satellites and ground-based listening stations to intercept and analyze communications. The existence of Echelon has been the subject of much controversy and debate, with some experts arguing that it is a necessary tool for national security and others arguing that it represents a serious violation of privacy rights.
Echelon is believed to have been one of the earliest means of global surveillance implemented by the Five Eyes countries following the end of the Cold War. The system is said to have been created with the primary goal of intercepting and analyzing communications of potential adversaries such as the Soviet Union. However, the end of the Cold War led to a shift in focus for Echelon, with the system being used to gather intelligence on a wider range of targets including governments, organizations, and individuals. There have also been concerns about the use of Echelon for economic espionage, with some reports suggesting that the system has been used to gather intelligence on foreign companies and organizations for the benefit of domestic industries. Furthermore, Echelon has also been criticized for its lack of transparency and oversight, with little information available about its operations, capabilities and how the information gathered is used.
Having email or VPN services hosted in a Five Eyes country may increase the risk of your communications being intercepted and monitored by intelligence agencies from those countries and other members of the Five Eyes alliance. Additionally, privacy laws in those countries may be less protective of individuals’ data compared to other countries, making it easier for government agencies to access your information.
The 2013 NSA leaks revealed that the surveillance agencies of the “Five Eyes” alliance were allegedly engaging in the practice of spying on their own citizens and sharing the collected information with one another, potentially bypassing laws that prohibit such actions.
However, it is worth noting that simply having an email or VPN service hosted in a Five Eyes country does not automatically mean that your communications will be monitored. It also depends on the jurisdiction of the company providing those services, some companies might have strong privacy policies and encryption to protect their users data.
Additionally, it’s important to note that the Five Eyes countries are not the only countries where surveillance occurs, as other countries have also been known to engage in similar activities.
If you are concerned about privacy and surveillance, it’s best to use email and VPN services that are hosted in a country with strong privacy laws and a history of protecting users’ data, and also check the company’s privacy policies and encryption methods.