I am sure everyone reading this article must be familiar with the term 14 eyes or 9 eyes or even 5 eyes VPN countries. If not, in the next few minutes, you will gauge some ideas about VPNs and their methodologies. They are all very common terms that turn around when discussing VPN providers.
Generally, the job of VPNs is to secure your traffic by sending it by an encrypted tunnel and give you a different IP address so that your true IP address is not revealed to the websites and services you are connecting to. Thus, In this article, we shall cover some deep insight into 14 Eyes VPN Countries along with its privacy risk. We are going to explore all your questions right now.
A brief VPN memoir on 5,9,14 eyes
Kevin D. Mitnick. is one of the most famous hackers. He wrote a dis phenomenal book breaking down all the techniques, you can use to protect yourself in a world of big data.
The book I read is by the best and most in-depth out there on the web. You can find the info here: https://amzn.to/2MlhvIs
To serve things as simple, we are going to kick off VPN by saying what the 5 eyes are, and then we shall discuss 9 eyes and 14 eyes shortly after.
What are the 5 eyes alliance?
In 1946, an alliance of five countries( the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and NewZealand) formed an agreement that more often looks like an agreement between the UK and The USA because it is called the UKUSA agreement. This established the 5 alliances for the purpose of sharing intelligence.
Edward Snowden-A Whistleblower shared a lot of light on these relationships. He discussed the relative impact of this agreement on people and explained so-called Intelligence.
What they can do is scary, this agreement was forcing companies:
handing over their customer’s data under secret orders.
Secretly tapping fiber optic cables.
Accessing sensitive financial data through SWIFT-The world’s largest financial messaging system.
Hacking the networks to get direct access to systems.
Threatening politicians with trumped-up threats of impeding cyberwar.
Sabotaging encryption standard and standard bodies.
These credentials information was gathered on certain projections like TEMPORA and XKEYSCORE. For deep insights, you can follow the article on how NSA tracks:
How do they affect you?
All of these Five countries work together to gather user data. After all, they function as a single unit. Because of this power, these countries have access to their citizen’s data, especially the companies.
Many people fear, VPN providers based on these countries could be risked by wiretapping, Hacking, and even Gag orders implied by 14 eyes. Gag order forces companies to gather all customer data and be fully compliant to the customer and all it’s secret.
So if you are using a VPN based on these 5 allies, then there is a possibility that the government could issue a gag order and harvest all your personal data. These VPN companies could be potentially sharing user logs despite saying they don’t keep logs.
An example of exposing a VPN service of 14 eyes
The example everybody loves to hear is when Edward Snowden communicated using secure email services called Lavabit. Later, the FBI sends an email service a gag order to hand over SSL keys. This would grant them access to all the logs.
lavabit did have much of a choice Since the jurisdiction was in the USA. So, they sent over the SSL keys. But they didn’t forget to add “delete lavabit function” to the queue. So when they over the keys they also deleted the lavabit to protect all of their customers. This turned out to be the best-case scenario.
A company that truly values its customer’s data and that puts themselves at risk to protect it. However, this isn’t something that counts on happening and you should be aware that most companies will not put themselves at risk for their customers.
Let lavabit be a lesson for why VPN providers based on the 5 eyes could potentially be a risk for you as an individual.
Taking About 9 eyes and 14 eyes!
Well, 9 eyes and 14 eyes of VPN services are much easier to exploit. The five eyes allies cooperated to groups of the third-party countries to share intelligence forming the 9 eyes and 14 eyes, which is just an extension of the 5 eyes program.
However, 5 eyes and third party countries can and do spy as well. In total, the countries that make up for the 14 eyes: The US, The UK, Australia, Canada, and NewZealand, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden.
So this is what the 14 eyes are, people are always talking about them when it comes to VPN providers. However, this was just one side of the story and it was the side that was completely against using anything based in these countries.
There is also another side of the argument and it is about the people who say it absolutely doesn’t matter. The reason is, none of the VPN in the world would like to stop the intelligence agency from getting hope from the information, they want.
And that is a very valid point. The NSA is well known to hack machines in Iran, Russia, and China which are just a few examples.
What can we take away from all this information?
Personally, I think it’s a bit unsensible to be 100% on either side of the spectrum. However, there are fantastic VPN services like Air VPN and PIA which are based on the 14 eyes and A lot of people have trust in them with their data, despite the possible jurisdiction risk.
They are also certain services that were based outside of the 14 eyes. But they didn’t worth people’s faith and unfortunately failed. No matter what we definitely should factor jurisdiction into a VPN evaluation. It’s very important to be aware of the scenes, legal work going on companies, and the intelligence agencies.
However, I wouldn’t solely let a service jurisdiction make or break a deal for you. Unless you are a firm believer that all services in the 14 eyes are compromised.
At the end of the day, you spend your money on the VPN services that you use and trust. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to test or prove whether a NULL logging policy is actually being honored until it’s too late irrespective of being a 14 eyes VPN company.
I encourage you to make your own educated decision as to perceive how much jurisdiction means to you as an individual as well as what VPN services make you feel like, you can trust the most with your data with or without 14 eyes.