The First Five Eyes
Before it became nine eyes, the first five eyes countries list pertained to the data collection agreement that Australia, Canada, the UK, the United States and New Zealand made in the aftermath of World War II. If you want to know what this means to you, think of the Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management (PRISM) program leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.
Snowden used to work as a technical assistant for a CIA agent until he leaked National Security Agency information the NSA thought he should keep to himself. This began a surge of heightened awareness about security breaches not only in the U.S. but around the world. It also began to induce paranoia in people who may have never thought of being watched while using the Internet.
Snowden’s Intentions For Leaking Info
According to Dave Davies of NPR, Snowden wanted to warn three U.S. journalists about the U.S. Government’s Intelligence Agency keeping an eye on (performing surveillance on) American citizens.
As of 2019, that’s where he still is, and he became a permanent resident of the country in 2020. Supposedly, he will speak at The Next Web Conference in 2022. Considering the Ukraine War in all starting this same year, some people may be shocked Snowden would still attend.
Four More Eyes Equals Nine
The Future of Worldwide Surveillance
At least 14-16 countries continue to participate in surveillance activities and work together to collect and share data. Multiple nations collaborating also ask internet service providers to hand over customer data to government agencies.
This is similar to what occurred with in the U.S. PRISM program in 2013 and beyond. In 2017, the government also supposedly gave ISPs the right to sell the information they recorded to third parties. However, the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer agencies, as well as Congress members, continue to fight for privacy rights for private citizens.
Even More Eyes Equals 14-16
However, not all lists include the same countries on it. It still is known as the 14 eyes countries as of 2022.