What is 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes Surveillance in 2023 [Simply Explained]

In the following article, we’ve included the 5, 9, and 14 eyes alliances in detail. We’ve also explained exactly why this topic is important when it comes to your privacy. So, you’ll get to almost everything you need to know about 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes surveillance, and your Privacy.

If you are concerned about your online privacy, you’re not alone. According to Pew Research, approximately 50% of Americans don’t believe in social media or the administration to protect their information. 

As individual privacy becomes a common topic in courtrooms and company offices, global surveillance has increased.

The phrases “Five Eyes, “Nine Eyes, “and “14 Eyes” often emerge in the privacy agreement, particularly when considering VPNs and other privacy tools.

These are basically international surveillance organizations outlining different countries around the globe. These monitoring alliances work together to gather and share bulk surveillance information with each other.

This system has been hunting on people for decades, with stabilized methods going back to World War II.

Let’s see how!

History of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, 14 Eyes

The Five Eye collaboration occurred during the World War II period. It started as an intelligence service organization called the United States of America Agreement or the UK-USA Agreement.

This first alliance was between the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, or the Five Eyes. People also identified it as FVEY.

While this deal initially began in 1941, the secret alliance has emerged over the times, growing into online surveillance and data acquisition. Nine other countries also joined the agreements over the years.

Several other countries joined the fold in the 1950s. These were mostly third party entities from Nordic regions around the world, including West Germany and Denmark.

Ultimately, it increased again to involve France, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, and Italy. However, these associations did not have as comprehensive data collection in the beginning as English nations did.

That has increased in the past two years. As more firms have joined hands with state agencies and data collection, You can now access any information and access the internet within the Fourteen Eyes if you have a company.

In 2010, the UK-USA Agreement was eventually presented publicly, and you can now read it online. Edward Snowden was one of the first people who shared data about this intelligence cooperation and global inspection in 2013.

Other reports around this period also exposed that Israel was a member of the group, though it was not involved in the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes.

What is 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes Surveillance


Now that you know the backgrounds of these alliances, let’s explore each alliance in detail!

Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance

The Five Eyes, also known as FVEY, comprises five separate nations that have come together to develop a surveillance operation in their individual country.

The 5-eyes countries cover the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. They all approved the multilateral UK-USA Agreement. This agreement works as a unifying system for their participation in web intelligence.

Essentially, this collaboration is one of the most dreaded and troubling surveillance networks in the world as each of the participating nations controls a significant amount of necessary data retention, licenses, and gag orders.

It merely indicates that the administration of these five nations can ask vigorously for users’ accounts from all the tech companies working in that country, including the VPN providers.

If you have to pick a VPN that is established in any of these realms, you require first to discover whether they save logs or not. Failure to do so clearly suggests that they can record your internet activity and be submit it to third parties whenever your VPN provider is agreed upon warrants or gag orders.

Note: Five Eyes consists of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Nine Eyes Intelligence Alliance

The nine eyes community is an extensive frame of the 5-eyes with an extension of four new realms, including Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway.

They all key into the signals intelligence alliance. However, the newly added countries are not as critical as the FVEY.

The 9-eyes country is also recognized for keeping some level of data retention rules that might mandate for tech companies, like VPN service providers, to provide their users’ records.

Note: Nine Eyes consists of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Netherlands, and Norway.

Fourteen Eyes Intelligence Alliance

Like the Nine Eyes collaboration, the Fourteen Eyes Alliance came into being as an expansion of the initial surveillance compliance.

The five new nations cover Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Sweden.

The Fourteen-eye countries are authoritatively identified as “SIGINT Seniors Europe (SSEUR),” and they are less trusted when you think of privacy concerns as they employ in some secret surveillance.

Note: Fourteen Eyes consists of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Spain.

Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes Summery

United States United States United States
United Kingdom United Kingdom United Kingdom
Australia Australia Australia
Canada Canada Canada
New-Zealand New-Zealand New-Zealand
The Netherlands The Netherlands
France France
Denmark Denmark
Norway Norway

Surveillance Agencies

Numerous agencies that obtain private information helps the Five Eyes alliance.

The USA operates closely with the followings:

The Australian government also depends upon five monitoring agencies, the UK on four, and New Zealand and Canada on three. Each of those agencies has a part in the Five Eyes.

What Methods do These Intelligence Alliances Use to Keep a Watch?

There are various mechanics and processes by which these intelligence bureaus collect data on a massive scale. However, that raw data is worthless, except it is interpreted to bring out the actionable information.

We won’t be detailing how these attack mechanisms work since it is not related to our purpose here.

Without further delay, let’s see how do they accumulate the information.

Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT): Geospatial-Intelligence is connected to the data collected by investigating pictures and information related to a specific location.

Signal Intelligence (SIGINT): Signal Intelligence works to find the data by catching signals from various devices.

Human Intelligence (HUMINT): It is the way of collecting information by using a human source, mostly detectives.

By no means are these the entire systems utilized in deriving statistics over a mass group. However, these are sufficient reasons to assure you that companies are indeed keeping a close watch on the people.

Spying Projects Run By the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes Alliances

The massive surveillance network used all kinds of spying programs to get intelligence, and here are some of the classified ones:


ECHELON was initially the code name for the Five Eyes Alliance.

But, now, it describes the most conspicuous surveillance system managed inside the 14 Eyes.

ECHELON is a chain of electric spy stations run by the USA with the cooperation of its associates. 

They use this program to spy on electric devices, including phones and computers, and it has the capacity to save millions of logs on people and companies.

However, it’s interesting to consider that the USA rejects the existence of this system, although there have been many people that insist that ECHELON does exist.


PRISM is the code title for a device used by the NSA that gathers data from internet corporations, including all of the beasts in the market like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Yahoo, Skype, and Facebook.

According to The Guardian, Microsoft even agreed with the NSA to support them decode their encryption, giving access to PRISM to get data on their users.

In other terms, PRISM can intercept your videos, emails, live calls, voice-over-IP chats like Skype, and even your data transfers.

Just imagine the range of available information that PRISM can collect within seconds.


The Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, uses a prying tool that captures internet traffic by putting data interceptors on fiber-optic cables that transport Internet traffic inside the UK and overseas.

It’s another method to spy on web users on a large scale, and the code name for this operation is Tempora.

Assuming that Tempora is used for mass surveillance would be an underestimation.

It enrolls about 10 GB of data per second, and it does not have a targeting policy, which suggests that it grabs pretty much anything from anyone.


Another UK inspection program is MUSCULAR. The NSA and the GCHQ operate it together, and the system grabs twice as much information as PRISM.

MUSCULAR secretly intercepts transmissions from Yahoo and Google data stations.

However, since this got to the public in 2013, Google has allegedly increased its security measures.


The proper method of interpreting what XKEYSCORE implies is to compare it to your Google search, only set for surveillance.

It’s a bulk database with millions of private information that are available to the Five Eyes nations.


Upstream is the US variant of Tempora. The NSA used it to intercept fiber-optic-cables connected to the nation directly.

How These Intelligence Alliances Can Affect You

If you are one of those internet users who think about their internet safety, it is necessary to understand the role of intelligence in online actions. 

Everyone should know without any uncertainty that the primary objective of all such intelligence associations is to save common people rather than intervening in their private lives.

Edward Snowden exposed numerous interesting as well as annoying facts about the intelligence bureaus. One such point was the adoption of the PRISM Program, which was designed by the NSA.

The chief purpose of this project was to obtain private and professional data of the people by powerful platforms like Microsoft, Facebook, and even Google.

The PRISM has made it very easy to obtain users’ logs for NSA Agents. Moreover, it can be shared with other associates as well. The most annoying point is that the other ally nations can also utilize this program and trace anyone in the world.

Even if you have nothing to protect, you would never like bureaus to register your social media texts and calls.

Many people blame secret services for misusing their policies and resources against ordinary internet users. For example, it is assumed that they can hack networks to collect users’ data, or they can also force network providers to let them keep surveillance on their users. 

These all are regarded as unethical ways to watch someone’s actions without their knowledge.

There is no doubt that all intelligence organizations’ primary intentions, i.e., Five-Eyes, Nine-Eyes, or Tier B, would be to watch and intercept bad guys who are in the guise of ordinary civilians. 

However, in the battle against evil, sometimes, common people also get affected.

How to Protect Yourself From the Prying Eyes

The best way to save yourself from global surveillance is to change your online practices and adopt privacy and safety tools, including a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

It is, though, a misunderstanding that you only require anti-surveillance devices to stay safe.

The entire scenario is much more complicated. Sometimes even if you take all precautionary steps when you are interacting with a person who hasn’t use this, you are likely to be exposed.

That is why it is important to increase global awareness regarding privacy issues. Until that occurs, you just have to use a few alternatives that will help you stay protected from global inspection.

Here are ways to save yourself from these intelligence agencies:

Reduce the Use of Smart Devices

From your cellphone to watch to your Amazon Alexa, all of such smart devices can record every word you say and collect other information on you as well.

These are devices used to keep a watch on each part of your life. As a part of PRISM, the NSA can force any private organization to handover the data to them.

It would be best if you were cautious of what applications you install on your cellphone, and you should restrict your use of smart devices. 

Apple has confirmed that it is a brand that you can trust for privacy, but certain apps can unlock even the microphone on your phone.

Pick Companies that Aren’t a Part of PRISM

Google is one of the leading companies that gather data, trade it to third parties, and fulfill NSA or FBI demands. It indicates that your Google searches, Gmail account, Google Chrome movement, and advertisement networks related to Google have access to all of your private information.

You should utilize a safe and reliable email service. Many private and stable browsers don’t exchange information. You can also use a more secured search engine and an ad blocker to bypass other issues.

Advanced Ways to Protect Your Data

A Virtual Private Network is just one idea to defend yourself in the digital world. As we wait for a decentralized “New Internet” as guaranteed by Tim Berners-Lee, there are many alternatives that you can take back charge of your information and get rid of from brands that easily give your data to the NSA.

Changing to Computers and Operating Systems

Since Apple, Google, and Microsoft are part of PRISM, you should select an operating system that utilizes Linux, as it is more complicated to hack this system.

Browse Via a Virtual Box

This course is intended to set up a computer inside your computer. Such Virtual Boxes can operate using different operating systems. The most prevalent is Linux.

These virtual tools act as visitors to your host device, which implies that you can keep your information and device separately.

Utilize a VPN While Browsing

With a VPN, you can keep your information safe and prevent the firms from gathering data on you. This is because a VPN can create an anonymous IP address, making it hard to track your network activity.

One significant difference between VPNs is the connection speed. Before you buy any VPN, you must verify their uptime and see if they are always dropping the connection.

It could be a sign that your browsing speed will be very slow when connected to such VPNs.

These are a few ideas that users are working on and protecting themselves online.

What is a VPN and How It Protects You from Such Alliances

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) generates an anonymous connection to the web, where your IP is unknown. One of the main ways organizations and agencies follow people is by their IP address and internet activities.

While you might have an IP from your Internet Service Provider, you can still buy a VPN to connect to the web and save yourself.

Basically, your IP is only revealed to connect to the VPN, and after that, it’s hard to track where you surf on the web as your address can switch locations many times.

It is one of the main ideas that people keep themselves from monitoring, but it isn’t the end-all-be-all answer. If the NSA wants to target you, you might see problems in staying attached to your VPN. 

Your bank might even prevent your VPN transactions as they are typically from firms settled outside the USA.

How VPN Prevents Data Retention

Your ISP works like the traffic police for every application you make, such as opening a site. If you need to send a request to open howtofirestick.com, the ISP will receive the offer.

It will then utilize its DNS server to search the right IP address assigned to the domain title, then return you the webpage.

Hence, it remembers your browsing records. The ISP can log your activities and keep them as accounts for as long as mandated by the provincial rules.

VPN carries away that authority from the ISP as it routes the requests to its server instead; the VPN server is what anchors the DNS queries.

The ISP only transmits the offer to the VPN server, and because data is encrypted, it cannot detect what website you are browsing.

Let’s take an example. You connect to a VPN, then make a plea to open howtofirestick.com. Once the offer proceeds to the ISP, the instruction will tell it requires to be transferred to an IP address (the VPN server).

The contents of the data packages are covered and hidden from the spying eyes of the ISP. The VPN server will decrypt your application then utilize its DNS server to deliver the requested content.

The process works in reverse now. All the while, the ISP is only working as a middle-man between you and the VPN server.

So, how can the administration not just force the VPN service to log data? Here’s the answer: because it has no authority.

Most of the best VPN services work in the safe zone. These areas are not under the jurisdiction of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, or Fourteen Eyes. The governments cannot enforce data retention on an entity that’s not under its jurisdiction.

You should always look for a no-logs policy while looking for a VPN. If a VPN service is running its servers and not depending on a third-party hosting service, then it’s a big bonus.

Any fast VPN will have a strict no-logs policy. This implies you can now browse the web without your records getting traced or logged, securing a private browsing experience.

Encryption assures that only the VPN server can decrypt the information. The best VPN services use military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, which is widely trusted by security experts, including the US military.

How Do the Alliances Affect VPN Users and How to Dodge the Surveillance?

All those who browse on the internet and VPNs are directly affected by the data collecting and sharing methods of the associated nations.

If any of the fourteen nations involved in the alliances get your data, you can securely pretend that they can share it with the remaining countries.

Those who have access to your first-hand information rely on those who have authority over your online actions while utilizing the VPN. 

There is more than one part of examining here. It could either be based on your physical location or the area of the server. It can also depend on the region of the headquarters of the VPN service provider you are using. 

If you want to keep your data safe and stable, we recommend that you figure out the systems and regulations of all three.

To keep yourself protected from data collecting and sharing, you should have knowledge regarding the rules of the country you live in.

You need to figure out stuff like whether using VPN is legal or illegal. Most nations permit using a VPN, but in some places like Turkey, Russia, and others, consider illegal.

Another critical thing to consider is the country of the VPN provider you are utilizing. If you are using a VPN from one of the fourteen nations of the alliance, your online safety is in big problem. So, avoid taking VPN providers from among the fourteen countries.

The place where the VPN provider belongs can force it to give a private database of its user to the government. The management can then share it with other allies, particularly if it is part of one of the alliances.

The horrible part is that you might never find out that your privacy even got attacked in the first place.

Hence, to be absolutely safe and careful, you need to know the VPN provider and the region it belonged to.

You also have to be conscious about the location of the server you are utilizing and the surveillance systems in that nation. It is even more important than the VPN provider’s official establishment.

VPNs in the 5-9-14 Eyes Jurisdiction

VPN Services – USA

HotSpot Shield
Private Internet Access
VPN Unlimited

VPN Services – UK


VPN Services – Canada


VPN Services – Australia and New Zealand

Celo VPN

VPNs That Are Out of the 5-9-14 Eyes Jurisdiction


ExpressVPN is a big bull in the VPN business. This service provider is from the British Virgin Islands. Hence, you won’t have to bother about 5 Eyes and the other companies as much if you consistently use this VPN.

While it is by no means the most affordable VPN service existing, we believe that there is so much more than just pricing in ExpressVPN. Their sheer number of traits combined with a broad spread of server locations makes it hard for other VPN service providers to beat.


NordVPN is one of the popular VPNs out there. The headquarters is in Panama. This nation is not a member of the 5, 9, or 14 Eyes alliances. So, you can safely browse the internet.

It pushes all the correct buttons in critical areas of security, secrecy, and speed yet make it all at hard-to-beat long term subscription plan rates. Nord VPN is a must-buy option for anyone who thinks of ensuring their privacy!

You can read more about Nord VPN Here.


CyberGhost is one of the most trusted names in the VPN market. This service provider has units working in both Romania and Germany.

However, their head office is in Romania, which puts them outside of the 5, 9, and 14 Eyes control. With Cyber Ghost, you can easily deceive your location and make it difficult for websites to trace your online activity. Moreover, because you will share your IP with other Cyber Ghost users connected to the same server, your digital footprints can never lead back to you.

Final Thoughts

For a long time now, The 5, 9, and 14 eyes surveillance has been a debatable topic.

Governments and companies are trying to persuade users that they should not worry about the mass surveillance happening worldwide if they have nothing to cover.

However, it’s not regarding “having something to hide” but about common sense and the right to secrecy.

So, now that you know almost everything you need to know about the Five, Nine, and 14 Eyes, it’s time for you to take control of your privacy.

To read more about VPNs in the market, Click Here!


Sean Horton
I’m Sean Horton, a self-proclaimed tech and TV geek from Austin, Texas. I’ve been interested in the world of technology ever since I was a kid. I used to get my dad to buy me different types of tech gadgets so that I could dismantle them and put pack together. This advanced to me building new toys out of existing ones while combining different parts.

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