In 1946, just after the end of World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom participated in the UKUSA (United Kingdom-United States of America Agreement), a bilateral intelligence agreement that lasted for more than 10 years. (NSA), UK Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Australian Defense Communications Agency (DSD), New Zealand Communications Security Agency (GCSB), and Canada Communications Security Agency (CSE) have formed a Five Eyes alliance. Due to the nature of Five Eyes, its existence itself is confidential and has not been mentioned in public documents for a long time.
Five Eyes maintained links to the extent that it was impossible to know by which collaborator it was made according to the strategy implemented by the closely-coupled alliances. It is said that most of the information facilities owned by the participating countries are staffed not only by their own country but also other participating countries, and the operation of the information facilities itself is common.
Five Eyes seeks all methods of intrusion into modern telecommunication networks, enforces customer data on enterprises, intercepts fiber optic cables between data centers, accesses financial data through international interbank telecommunication associations, and standardizes with organizations to establish international agreements to regulate data access. All spy operations have been carried out, including the decline in Internet information protection capabilities through group disruption.
It was Edward Snowden who unveiled one of these Five Eyes spy activities. He revealed that Five Eyes had carried out Operation Tempora to cut off the UK’s submarine fiber optic cable management office, and said that 250 British GCHQs and 300 US NSAs were assigned to the operation. According to Snowden, the content captured through this operation is stored for 3 days and the metadata is stored for 30 days. During the retention period, only important information is extracted through filtering. It was basic, such as filtering word search immediately after the start of the operation, but later uses XKeyscore, the NSA’s secret surveillance system. Snowdon pointed out the dangers, saying that by installing fiber optic cable taps and applying word recognition or voice recognition to communication data, you can almost completely control remote and online communication.
Prior to World War II, confidential information was physically stored, such as in a filing cabinet. But now, confidential information is stored on servers, etc., so it can be stolen online. Five Eyes member countries pointed out that there is no presumed possibility that personal communication of citizens or residents will be blocked by Five Eyes. Like Snowdon’s accusation, there is a risk of invading public personal information through Five Eyes surveillance activities.
Snowden mentioned that mass interception technology is an indiscriminate surveillance technology, and it is impossible to extract and monitor criminal group communications such as terrorism. He pointed out that there is a risk of infringement of public information at the same time due to the surveillance network implemented by Five Eyes. Related information can be found here.