2019 ’Five Eyes’ Summit in California (Photo: Rights reserved).

The United States, leader of the “Five Eyes” Communications Interception and Tracking Group (along with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom), wishes to bring other countries into this intelligence-sharing alliance.

Following the signing of the Atlantic Charter (1941), the United States and the United Kingdom set up a system of intercepting communications among the Axis powers which they perpetuated in 1946 with the UKUSA Agreement. In 1948, Canada was added, followed by Australia and New Zealand in 1956, constituting the “Five Eyes” (FVEY).

Subsequently, they were backed by a second tier (ie not on a par with the Five) made up of Denmark, France, Norway and the Netherlands. Then, they formed a third tier with Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Sweden. Finally, a fourth tier has emerged with episodic participation by South Korea, Israel, Japan and Singapore.

With a view to intercepting all communications inside Russia and China, the US House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services has come up with the idea of upgrading the status of Germany, South Korea, India and Japan. The “Five Eyes” would thus become the “Nine Eyes”.

The architecture of this system has only been known since the 2013 revelations made by Edward Snowden (now a political refugee in Russia). This "whistleblower" has also shown that the system was being used by the Five Eyes to spy not only on foreign powers, but also on their own citizens. He further exposed the existence of five surveillance programs:

 Prism (monitor and record internet communications with the complicity of the main internet providers);
 Tempora (retrieval of communications via submarine cables);
 Muscular (monitoring of international database transfers);
 Stateroom (monitoring of local communications from embassies and consulates in violation of the Vienna Convention);
 XKeyscore (global data processing).

The “Five Eyes” is not a national system, but a supranational one. They elude the laws and constitutions of their own countries. They constitute de facto a power greater than that of their own heads of state and government combined. Contrary to popular belief, the citizens of the “Five Eyes” are today the populations under the greatest surveillance in the world, to a far greater degree than the Russian or Chinese populations.