I really hope that when/if Google re-roams the streets that it doesn’t delete the original imagery, but instead finds a way to archive and present the old and new images together, thus letting us see how our physical surroundings change. Other countries have formed surveillance partnerships with the Five Eyes, too, such as the 43 Eyes, which is the 14 Eyes plus the members of the International Security Assistance Forces to Afghanistan. The U.S proposed that France join the Five Eyes alliance, to become the Six Eyes.
While this group has many of the same members as “9 Eyes” it is a different group. Also, according to leaked documents, this is not a formal treaty but more an agreement made between SIGINT agencies.
These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence. The Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes groups are an essential part of a global surveillance and espionage system that feeds into the GCHQ, NSA, and other intelligence agencies. Snowden’s leaks revealed some of what these organizations do, but it is unlikely we will ever know the full details.
In recent years, documents of the FVEY have shown that they are intentionally spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on spying. Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the advocacy group Liberty, claimed that the FVEY alliance increases the ability of member states to “subcontract their dirty work” to each other. The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the FVEY as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that doesn’t answer to the laws of its own countries”. The Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances are essentially extensions of the original Five Eyes Alliance.
Domestic espionage sharing controversy
French President Nicholas Sarkozy wanted to be granted the same status as other allies, though. That’d include signing the no-spy agreement to ensure the countries don’t gather intelligence on each other. Since the War on Terror began in 2001, the Five Eyes’ surveillance capabilities have expanded, especially online. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed just how much surveillance was carried out, catching ordinary citizens along the way, and the NSA and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters were the worst culprits. The Five Eyes alliance, also known as FVEY, was founded on Aug. 14, 1941 and can be traced back to the WWII period.
Another alleged function of the Five Eyes Alliance is spying on each other’s citizens. While there are laws that limit the ability of the NSA, for example, to spy on American citizens, there are no such limitations on the GCHQ. Since the agencies share information with each other, the theory is that they simply spy on each other’s citizens and share the information. Sharing InformationToday, in 2019, it is the United States that is threatening to withhold information from the other FVEY countries.
Comprised of the nine largest national based intelligence networks, the alliance’s formation is a central plot-point of EON Productions’ 2015 James Bond film Spectre. In the street view that we know today, a user can drop in on a given street almost anywhere in the world and explore stitched together panoramic images.
At the same time, I acknowledge that this way of photographing creates a cultural text like any other, a structured and structuring space whose codes and meaning the artist and the curator of the images can assist in constructing or deciphering. Though the Five Eyes countries have automatic data-sharing agreements between them, the additional countries are considered third-party members and have less clearance.
That means the intelligence-sharing abilities are narrower, but they can still engage in surveillance. Israel, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are all suspected to be third parties with the NSA as well. And just as there is a SIGINT Seniors of Europe, there is a SIGINT Seniors of the Pacific, which was formed in 2005. Its members include the 5 Eyes member countries as well as France, India, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress. As part of efforts in the ongoing War on Terror since 2001, the FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities, with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web.
In his photo project The Nine Eyes of Google Street View, Canadian artist Jon Rafman collects the bizarre and beautiful sights captured by the nine lenses on Google Street View camera cars as they photograph scenes around the world. The project has now been published as a book featuring hundreds of the images he has found through Street View blogs and his own searches. What we know is that the Nine Eyes group is an extension of the Five Eyes alliance, with similar cooperation to collect information through mass surveillance and share it. That intelligence sharing is more restricted for the additional partners, but the Netherlands is rumored to be home to at least one spying array, as you can read in our best VPN for the Netherlands piece.
The intelligence-sharing agreement between these five countries has only strengthened over time, as it has extended to surveillance of online activity. The Five Eyes Alliance arose out of a cold war era intelligence pact called the UKUSA Agreement. This was originally an intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States and the UK aimed at decrypting Soviet Russian intelligence. The Nine Eyes Committee is an intelligence-gathering alliance named after and inspired by its real-world counterpart the “Five Eyes” (the latter comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States).
Communication Intelligence Agreement, also known as the BRUSA Agreement, was signed by the UK and U.S. governments to facilitate co-operation between the U.S. On 5 March 1946, the secret treaty was formalized as the UKUSA Agreement, which forms the basis for all signal intelligence cooperation between the NSA and GCHQ to this day. Countries may use secret intelligence sharing arrangements to circumvent international and domestic rules on direct surveillance.
According to Bloomberg, the USA wants the other countries to avoid using equipment from the Chinese company Huawei in their 5G networks. If they do not, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US might not share some information with the rest of the Five Eyes. This means that although Gibraltar is not part of a formal intelligence-sharing Alliance, it is still not safe from the spying eyes of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.
- In the late 1990s, the existence of ECHELON was disclosed to the public, triggering a major debate in the European Parliament and, to a lesser extent, the United States Congress.
- The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries”.
These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law. This is really fascinating–I’d never really considered Google Street View as art before, but you’re right.
The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organisation that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries”. Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY has been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens. In 2007 Google began adding street views to its maps, photographs taken by a worldwide fleet of hybrid electric automobiles, each one bearing a nine-lensed camera mounted on a rooftop pole. This clothbound volume includes images from The Nine Eyes of Google Street View, an ongoing project by artist, filmmaker and essayist Jon Rafman (born 1981), whose work explores the impact of technology on consciousness. The photographs range from the beautifully symmetrical to the disturbingly violent—each, in some way, an extraordinary moment captured forever through a mapping service.
For example, according to Edward Snowden, the NSA has a “massive body” called the Foreign Affairs Directorate that is responsible for partnering with foreign countries. One year ago, I started collecting screen captures of Google Street Views from a range of Street View blogs and through my own hunting. This essay illustrates how my Street View collections reflect the excitement of exploring this new, virtual world. The world captured by Google appears to be more truthful and more transparent because of the weight accorded to external reality, the perception of a neutral, unbiased recording, and even the vastness of the project.
In addition to the core nations of the Five Eyes Alliance, the existence of two other international intelligence-sharing agreements has been confirmed. These two agreements, known as the Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances, may not be as tight-knit as the Five Eyes Alliance, but they still have wide implications for internet privacy. By the late 1950s, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had also joined the Alliance. These five English-speaking countries make up the Five Eyes Alliance as we know it today.
In 2007, Google offered only a selection of streets in the United States and slowly expanded their coverage over the years. Rafman conducted a close reading of Google Street View and began to isolate images from this massive database, publishing them on blogs, as PDFs, in books, and as large C-prints for gallery exhibition.
There are also non-Western intelligence-sharing alliances, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization between China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Fourteen Eyes refers to the intelligence group that consists of the 5 Eyes member countries plus Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden participating in SIGINT sharing as third parties. The official name of 14 Eyes is the SIGINT Seniors of Europe (SSEUR), and it has existed, in one form or another, since 1982. Similar to the UKUSA Agreement, its original mission was to uncover information about the USSR. A SIGINT Seniors Meeting is attended by the heads of the SIGINT agencies, (NSA, GCHQ, BND, the French DGSE, etc) and is where they can share intelligence and discuss issues.
In so doing, he reframed them within longer histories of photography and painting, raising questions about the meaning and function of these images and their implications for artists and image-makers. During the Cold War, GCHQ and the NSA shared intelligence on the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and several eastern European countries (known as Exotics). Over the course of several decades, the ECHELON surveillance network was developed to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies. The origins of the Five Eyes alliance can be traced back to the Atlantic Charter, which was issued in August 1941 to lay out the Allied goals for the post-war world.
While these countries may not all share as much information with each other as the Five Eyes Alliance, they still actively and willingly participate in international intelligence-sharing. Street View images are captured by a fleet of cars outfitted with a pole with 9 cameras at its top, which photograph their surroundings—hence Rafman’s project title, Nine Eyes of Google Street View. United States dollarThe Five Eyes (FVEY) is an anglophone intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Five Eyes Plus Three Against China and Russia
During the second world war, the exchange of intelligence information between the UK and the U.S. was important, and the partnership continued afterward. One of Edward Snowden’s most headline-grabbing revelations related to the NSA’s PRISM program, a mass data collection initiative whose participants include all the big players in the Internet world, including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. PRISM has made it incredibly easy for the NSA (even its “low-level agents”) to access information on commonly-used platforms. Therefore, due to the alliances, other countries easily tapped into this ability as well. Unfortunately, even those who believe they have “nothing to hide and nothing to fear” would be spooked by the ease with which the NSA – and therefore their alliance partners – can tap into anything from Skype conversations to email messages.
While the 9-Eyes countries share a lot, not everything that Five Eyes knows gets passed on to the rest of the group. Nine Eyes of Google Street View is both an archival project and a conceptual meditation on the state of photography in a time of automated imagemaking on a massive scale. While the Five Eyes is a very specific agreement with specific operations amongst the five nations, other non-FVEY sharing agreements have been set up independently and for specific purposes.
While we don’t know a whole lot about the inner workings of the Nine Eyes, it is reported to be the second-highest level of intelligence sharing conducted by the United States. It isn’t even clear to us whether there is a formal alliance or a treaty or any piece of paper that lays out precisely what the relationship is between the Nine Eyes countries.