The 5 Eyes Alliance (FVEY) has its operations dating back to the cold war era. The organization is an intelligence pact among different countries. At first, it was an agreement to share intelligence and information between the UK and the US. Both countries used the accord to try and decrypt Soviet Russian data. This coalition helped improve security in various ways.
Here are a few ways how this alliance improved today’s safety.
A Unification of Interests
It was the UK and US that first joined hands to help create secure pathways for sharing information. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada followed suit by the late 1950s. These are the five countries that make up the 5 eyes alliance of today.
The agreement started with sharing intelligence over offline networks. Now, the pact strengthened over time as sharing information through secured networks is possible with online transactions.
Despite common interests, the existence of the alliance was kept hidden behind closed doors. It wasn’t until 2003 when information about the organization began to surface. In 2013, Edward Snowden, an American whistle-blower, leaked documents to the public while working with the NSA as a contractor. The documents revealed that the US government kept watch of the online activity of the nation’s citizens.
Along with this breach of information, Snowden also proved that there exists an international intelligence-sharing agreement. This unification of interests to help bring a more secure online and offline world helps create an ideal network without a high risk of an information breach.
The online world is no longer the safe place many people once thought. Hackers continue to expand their expertise to new levels as each day brings additional tools to steal data from unsuspecting people. Exercising precaution is the key to a safe online experience. However, sometimes, that may not be enough.
The 5 Eye Alliance continuously surveys activities happening in both the online and offline world. If there was a hacking incident, it’s possible to trace the attack back to the source. Then, authorities can move into the source of the breach of data to exercise justice to cyber attackers.
Involvement in Interventions
The 5 Eye Alliance does more than secure passwords and Internet conversations. This association has close ties with other organizations, like the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and India’s Security and Intelligence Services (SIS).
An example was the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989. It started with a Chinese student protest calling for democratic and economic liberalization. The descent lasted for about three years before the local government had to step in and declare martial law. Soon after announcing the command, hundreds of thousands of troops mobilized and rained live ammunition to the unarmed protesters.
Next, the Chinese government placed surviving protest leaders in a “Most Wanted” list. Since the 5 Eye Alliance has close ties with security agencies, a report claims that both the CIA and SIS helped in letting Chinese protesters escape arrest. Also, since the Chinese government is not too keen on stopping the death penalty, these two security organizations may place a hand in assisting the dissidents from fatal confinement.
The Echelon System
Different Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) program exists, but one well-known application using this system is Echelon. It’s a global network of digital spy stations used to gather information from different sources like computers, fax machines, and telephones.
A report claims that the headquarters of Echelon is in the NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. The same article states that this system has another office found in GCHQ Cheltenham, UK.
The primary purpose of the Echelon system is to monitor both diplomatic and military communications. Furthermore, its network supervises communication networks to and from the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union.
However, the end of the cold war highlighted a shift in this system’s operations. At first, Echelon is a tool for espionage, but now it’s an international surveillance system. It continuously monitors offline and online communication pathways to keep tabs on alleged terrorists. Furthermore, experts handling the operations of Echelon use the system to track organized crime to help keep the public as safe as possible.
Mixed opinions exist regarding the 5 Eye Alliance. Specific individuals may see this organization as a threat to privacy everywhere. However, certain people may also see it as a way to keep citizens safe from harm. Unlawful entities still use particular communication practices to disseminate information among their members. The help of the 5 Eye Alliance may aid in keeping the peace for the public.