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  • Writer's pictureechoudhury77

Five Eyes: A Brief Rundown

In the world of global intelligence gathering and surveillance, one name reigns dominate.


But who and what exactly is 5-Eyes?

5-Eyes or The Five Eyes alliance (FVEY) is an alliance that consists of the five parties to the UKUSA Agreement.

  • United States

  • United Kingdom

  • Canada

  • Australia

  • New Zealand

This alliance's main purpose was to build a framework of signal intelligence data sharing among the nations in the alliance.

Nations in this alliance will conduct signal intelligence (SIGINT) and share the data collected with the other nations.

To better understand the 5-Eyes, its good to have a better understanding of what SIGINT is.

SIGINT essentially means two things

  • Communications intelligence (COMINT) – interception of voice communications, such as telephone calls, as well as text communications such as emails and text messages

  • Electronic intelligence (ELINT) – use of electronic sensors to signals unrelated to communication, e.g. signals from radars or surface-to-air missile systems


The 5-Eyes originated from Atlantic Charter in 1941, and the soul purpose was to monitor and collect information on the Soviet Union and its allies.

But once the Soviet Union collapsed, the 5-Eyes shifted from targeting geopolitical advisories to the collection of private communications for Anti-Terrorist operations.

As the years went on and digital communications became more and more popular, the alliance grew with the 9-Eyes and even 14-Eyes.

Each group conducts the same kind of operation as the original 5-Eyes, just the scope is expanded with the additional nations.


  • 5-Eye Nations +

  • Denmark

  • France

  • Netherlands

  • Norway


  • 9-Eyes Nations +

  • Belgium

  • Germany

  • Italy

  • Spain

  • Sweden

The 5-Eyes also receive data and help from third-party nations not formally in the alliance such as Japan, Singapore, Israel and South Korea.


The 5-Eyes alliance has attracted a number of controversies in regard to their surveillance methods and their targets.

Between the 1960s and the 1990s, numerous political individuals were targeted with surveillance, many of which are believed to be targeted because of their anti war views.

A few notable targets:

  • John Lennon - Lennon was a member of The Beatles and a notable anti-war activist. In 1971 he moved to New York to join in an activist movement against the Vietnam War. During this time the FBI and the British MI5 conducted a 12-month surveillance operation to monitor his activities and to deport him back to Britain.

  • Princess Diana - A public opponent to the use of land mines, Princess Diana was placed under surveillance by the NSA and the GCHQ. Its reported that the NSA has a top secret file on Diana that reaches over 1000 pages.

  • Jane Fonda - An American actress, writer, political activist and former fashion model. Due to her political activism, her communications as well as those of her husband, Tom Hayden, were intercepted by GCHQ and handed over to the NSA.

One of the biggest controversies to arise from the 5-Eyes happened in 2013 when whistleblower Edward Snowden release sensitive documents showing the actions of the 5-Eyes and other intelligence agencies.

The documents that were leaked showed that The United States and the United Kingdom were conducting mass-survallience on their own nations' population.

This included the mass collection of emails and other text based communications.

You can read more about the Snowden Documents here

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