Five Eyes Alliance: What is Five Eyes Network; Know FVEY Origin & History- Explainer

Five Eyes (FVEY): Know what is Five Eyes Alliance or Network here along with its origin and history. Five Eyes is a network of five nations including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. 

Created On: Dec 2, 2020 17:05 ISTModified On: Dec 2, 2020 17:05 IST
Five Eyes

Five Eyes Alliance was in news lately for raising its concern against China's imposition of curbs on Hong Kong. The alliance issued a joint statement in this regard after China imposed national security law in Hong Kong and postponed its Legislative Council Election which was due in September 2020.

Moreover, earlier this year, the Five Eyes, also known as FVEY, announced its plans to end the reliance on China for goods & services by creating a trusted supply chain. The US Congress had previously sought to add three more countries to its FVEY intelligence sharing including India, Japan and South Korea.

Here in this article, we have shared below the key details of the Five Eyes alliance including its origin and history. Have a look at these details below:

What is the Five Eyes Alliance?

The Five Eyes (FVEY) is the biggest intelligence alliance of the world, comprising five Anglophone countries the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. These countries are signatories to the UKUSA Agreement for their cooperation in signal intelligence. The alliance or network monitors the electronic communications of citizens and foreign governments.

The Alliance became a subject of controversy in 2013 when Edward Snowden, an employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), released some of its classified documents and revealed that the Five Eyes is a 'supra-national intelligence organization' that is not accountable to the laws of member countries.

Country-Wise details of Five Eyes

Have a look at the country-wise details of the Five Eyes alliance including when they joined the alliance and which nations are monitored by them:

Country

Year of Joining

FVEY Coverage

United Kingdom

1946 (UK & US formed the FVEY in 1946)

UK monitors Middle East, Europe, European Russia & Hong Kong

United States

US monitors Middle East, the Caribbean, Africa, China & Russia.

Canada

1948

Canada monitors China & Russia

Australia

1956

Australia monitors South and East Asia

New Zealand

1956

New Zealand monitors Southeast Asia, South-west of Blenheim, North Island at Tangimoana & South Island at Waihopai Valley

Origin & History of Five Eyes (FVEY)

The origin of the Five Eyes dates back to post-World War II period. After World War II, the allies issued the Atlantic charter in August 1941 for a post-war world. The charter is considered as the base for formation of the Five Eyes.

In May 1943, the US and the UK formed a secret treaty known as 'BRUSA Agreement' for cooperation in intelligence sharing. This agreement was later formalized as 'UKUSA Agreement' in 1946. The Five Eyes (FVEY) is an outcome of the UKUSA Agreement.

In the following years, three more countries, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, were added to the UKUSA Agreement, making it a Five Eyes Alliance.

ECHELON Surveillance System

The Five Eyes alliance developed the ECHELON surveillance system during the course of Cold War initially to monitor communications of the former Soviet Union, People's Republic of China and the Eastern Bloc. Now, this system is used for monitoring the private communications worldwide.

The Five Eyes has targeted several known organisations and individuals including United Nations, Google, Yahoo, Mastercard, Nelson Mandela, Angela Merkel, etc.

Other International Intelligence Alliances

Some of the other related Intelligence Alliances are:

Five Eyes Plus Three Against China and Russia: This is an alliance of Five Eyes and France, Germany & Japan that was formed in early 2018. The alliance work monitors the activities of China and Russia.

Five Eyes Plus Three Against North Korea: The alliance monitors the military activities of North Korea including its ballistic missiles.

Nine Eyes: The Nine Eyes alliance consists of Five Eyes and four other nations Denmark, Norway, France, the Netherlands.

Fourteen Eyes: This is an agreement between Nine Eyes' countries and five other nations - Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Sweden.

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