The original members of the 5 Eyes Alliance, an organization focused on surveillance data sharing between original members USA, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, is planning to expand its intelligence capabilities by working with Japan, South Korea, and France under the guise of keeping an eye on the activities of North Korea.
Government sources have told journalists at Kyodo News that the eight countries have been working since last fall in order to find the best way to collect information on North Korea, which involves more than the current tracking of ballistic missile activity.
It’s interesting to note that the 5 Eyes Alliance and its three partners are not limiting their actions to the current threat coming from the authoritarian regime of Kim Jong Un, with the sources adding:
The Five Eyes also have the idea of developing the partnership with the three countries into one that facilitates the exchange of intelligence on China’s growing military muscle.
The shift towards a more data dominated potential battlefield is clear in the fact that the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the Seventh Fleet, is a new amphibious command ship that’s focused on the so-called C4I principles, involving control, communication, computer, and intelligence.
A United States government source also claims that Japan has is coming close to being called the “sixth eye” and its importance is growing because it is close to potential trouble spots like North Korea and China. So far no official announcement has been made on an official expansion of the surveillance organization.
5 Eyes Alliance methods should worry Internet users
This most recent move to expand intelligence sharing between 8 countries might be focused on rival government activity but even the average Internet fan should be worried.
As governments develop better methods to track military activity in North Korea and China they can then re-purpose them to keep tabs on Internet users around the world and on their own citizens.
A recent report about censorship around the world, created by the developers of ExpressVPN, shows that it is relatively easy for countries to set up systems designed to gather personal information, using brute force, sophisticated Deep Packet Inspection and even more subtle social means.
Japan has long been one of the freest nations in the world when it comes to Internet use, getting a very positive score from Freedom House, 25 out of 100 in 2018 (a lower score is a better one).
A closer collaboration agreement with members of the 5 Eyes Alliance, as well as with other partners like South Korea and Japan, might mean that the government develops a new range of tracking capabilities and then uses them for nefarious means. We have a bigger article that offers a wealth of information on the 5, 9 and 14 Alliances and their impact on privacy.
The Freedom House report mentions more instances of website blocking and new legislation that is designed to allow the authorities to easily ask for IP addresses to be blocked if they are alleged to be involved in illegal activities. The full report offers more details for those willing to read about prosecutions and actions to eliminate mentions of some individuals.
A VPN can help users to stay clear of 5 Eyes Alliance tracking
Given this worldwide climate of surveillance, those who care about their privacy should be careful to keep as many of their personal information as possible away from governments and that involves using a solid Virtual Private Network solution.
Be warned that many VPNs are developed in countries that are members of the 5, 9 or 14 Eyes Alliance and that could mean that they will comply with a request for access to private user data that comes from their own governments.
In order to stay as safe as possible and to make sure that a little as possible personal details are tracked by governments and companies, readers should take a look at our list of 5 best VPN solutions and choose the one that suits them best.