5/9/14 Eyes Alliance

5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, & 14 Eyes Countries – What You Need to Know in 2021

When talking about international intelligence-sharing agreements, things can get complicated fast. Don’t worry—we are going to quickly walk you through the vital information about the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances (9*14).

These alliances may pose a risk to your privacy, but we’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to protect your data and keep your online activity anonymous. Find out below what these alliances are and how they can affect VPN users like you. We have also included a country-by-country guide to VPN jurisdictions.

What Is the 5 Eyes Alliance?

The Five Eyes Alliance arose out of a cold war era intelligence pact called the UKUSA Agreement, conceived in 1946. This was originally an intelligence-sharing agreement between the United States and the UK to spy on the USSR and decrypt Russian intelligence.

By the late 1950s, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had also joined the Alliance.

These five countries make up the original Five Eyes Alliance as we know it today. The intelligence-sharing agreement between these five Anglophone countries has only strengthened over time, as it has extended to surveillance of online activity.

In particular, the 5 Eyes Alliance has built upon its Cold War roots to become the basis for ECHELON, a series of electronic spy stations worldwide that can intercept data transmitted via telephones, faxes, and computers. Essentially, ECHELON sites can intercept data from transmissions to and from satellite relays.

The 5 Eyes alliance is the foundation of an extensive web of partnerships between SIGINT (Signal-Intelligence) agencies in Western nations to share intelligence.

In nearly all respects, the NSA is the global leader in SIGINT. Thus most SIGINT agreements, either multilateral like the 5 Eyes or bilateral, between the NSA and another party on access to NSA's database and resources.

The 5 original members of the 5 Eyes are known as the “second parties,” and they have the greatest amount of access to NSA data and the closest ties to the agency.

Other Western nations, such as members of NATO or South Korea, are “third parties.” These third-party agreements are formal, bilateral arrangements between the NSA and the national intelligence agencies. Third parties can still trade raw data with the NSA, but they have less access to its database.

For many years, this arrangement was a well-kept secret between the five nations and was only revealed to the public in 2003.

Things started to become more apparent in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked several documents he obtained while working as an NSA contractor. These documents exposed widespread government surveillance of citizens’ online activity and contained evidence that the international intelligence-sharing network is more extensive than previously thought.

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 vast implications for internet privacy.

Surveillance Projects of Five Eyes Alliance

ECHELON Program

The ECHELON program is led by the NSA and is an automated surveillance system that intercepts electronic and satellite communications. ECHELON was first disclosed by Perry Fellwock, a former analyst in the NSA, in 1972.

Since then, there were many attempts to uncover the details of this program with Edward Snowden delivering final blow to the secrecy of ECHELON program. That's when the NSA acknowledged its existence for the first time.

The ECHELON automatically intercepts and scans millions of calls, text messages, along with other means of communication. It detects certain keywords or phrases that could signify some national or global threats.

When such a keyword is detected, some human personnel is notified who uses the necessary means to understand the context in which the word/phrase was used.

If the human factor decides that the context is dangerous, the person using the word is classified as a potential threat. ECHELON was used at an international level by the NSA.

TEMPORA

TEMPORA is another tool used by the Five Eyes Alliance in their surveillance activities. While the NSA primarily focuses on ECHELON, TEMPORA is mainly used by the GCHQ. T

EMPORA focuses on intercepting information that is transferred through optic cables meaning its primary focus is internet-based communication.

TEMPORA also scans all information that it collects for target keywords or phrases following the aforementioned process by ECHELON.

Essentially, both tools have the same function but monitor different modes of communication.

Once again, Edward Snowden revealed the existence of the TEMPORA program in 2013.

XKEYSCORE

Also exposed by Snowden, XKEYSCORE is an all-rounder surveillance system of the NSA that it shares with select allied countries. Snowden, reveaked that XKEYSCORE can spy on any person anywhere around the world. 

This hints that XKEYSCORE can intercept and collect all forms of communication, including phone calls, browsing history, and GPS location on smartphone devices.

ECHELON and TEMPORA, the data collected by XKEYSCORE is also processed by humans to detect potential threats.

Among the three systems, XKEYSCORE is also believed to be the most advanced and extensive surveillance program.

However, NSA has stated in their official statement that XKEYSCORE is used only for national security matters and access to XKEYSCORE is classified to select NSA personnel only.

Note that national security does not exclude international surveillance.

14 Eyes Alliance (SSEUR)

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 Senior Meeting is attended by the heads of the SIGINT agencies (NSA, GCHQ, BND, the French DGSE, etc.) and can share intelligence and discuss issues.

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.

9 Eyes

Nine Eyes refers to a group of nations that share intelligence, comprised of the 5 Eyes member countries plus Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Norway participating as third parties.

This group seems to be a more exclusive club of SSEUR and is also not backed by any known treaty; it is simply an arrangement between SIGINT agencies.

Here is a brief breakdown of the members of each of the three Alliances:

Five Eyes: US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
Nine Eyes: Five Eyes + Denmark, France, Holland, Norway
Fourteen Eyes: Nine Eyes + Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain

5/9/14 eyes alliance jurisdiction
The 5/9/14 alliance nations. Image Credit: top10vpn.com

The Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances are essentially extensions of the original Five Eyes Alliance. 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.

In addition to these confirmed alliances, it is also worth mentioning another handful of countries that have been caught or suspected of exchanging information with the Fourteen Eyes alliance.

There possible third-party contributors include Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea

How Can the Eyes Alliances Affect VPN Users?

The intelligence-sharing practices of these countries have wide implications for internet users and VPNs in particular. It is safe to assume that if any of these 14 nations gain access to your data online, they can share your data with other countries.

It all comes down to who has jurisdiction over your online activity when you are using a VPN. There are several layers to consider.

Is it your physical location? The server location? Or the VPN provider’s business location? If you really want to be safe, it is best to know the laws and practices of all three.

Should You Avoid VPN Providers Based in 5/9/14 Eyes Countries?

In essence, what matters is not whether a VPN provider is based in a 5/9/14 Eyes country. Instead you need to be aware of the online laws and regulations of the country you live in.

For example, is VPN use even legal in your country? In most cases, the answer is yes, but not always. Another important consideration is the country where your VPN provider is registered as a business.

You need to avoid choosing a VPN provider that is forced to maintain and hand over information to its government based on its users. Naturally, if the country is in the 5/9/14 Alliance, the government agencies could then share this data with other countries in the alliance without you being aware.

However, first and foremost you just don't want to subscribe to a VPN provider under such restrictions.

To sum it up, you need to be aware of the following three legal statuses:

  • The legal status of the country you reside in and the VPN provider operates.
  • The legal status of the country in which your VPN provider is located.
  • The legal status of the country the VPN servers you connect to are located.

This has nothing to do with the 5/9/14 Alliances as their goal is international surveillance, which means that they look for backdoors for all VPN providers or that they are always going to try to monitor access to Tor.

All this still may not be enough as the 5/9/14 “jurisdiction” is not a thing. Surveillance agencies work at a global level as I already explained so the notion that being located in a specific country or using a particular VPN provider is absurd.

What you can do though, is understand which VPN providers you cannot trust by any means.

Why Strict No-Logs Policies Are Important (If They are Enforced)

The many ways that VPNs can fall under the jurisdiction of various governments is why the best VPNs for privacy have strict no-logs policies. Consequently, VPN providers do not retain any identifying information about their users or their online activity.

A great example of this policy inaction comes from the renowned VPN provider ExpressVPN. A Turkish police investigation that involved an ExpressVPN user tried to compel the provider to hand over identifying data.

Despite their best attempts, authorities could not find any identifying information due to ExpressVPN’s strict no-logs policy. ExpressVPN only processes data in RAM, so even seizing the server was pointless as it contained no information on the disk storage.

As comforting as this story is, there are also known cases of VPN providers claiming to have a no-logs policy which then gave out users’ sensitive information to government authorities.

It may not be enough for a VPN provider to claim to offer a no-logs policy, but that goes beyond the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances.

We have to admit though that VPN providers that fall under the jurisdiction of countries in the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances may be more susceptible to violating their own no-logs policies.

However, there are plenty of trustworthy providers even in 5/9/14 countries with several who are considered trustworthy based in the US?

Would I subscribe to a VPN based in one of the 5/9/14? I am not sure I would, but thankfully, the best providers are not located in any of these countries.

Regardless, associating the 5/9/14 alliances with no-log policy violations and a legal responsibility to share records and logs is borderline false marketing by VPN providers and affiliate marketers and unfounded.

Country-By-Country Guide to VPN Jurisdictions

This guide will help you gain a better understanding of the countries that may have jurisdiction over your online activity and VPN use.

For each of the 35 countries listed, you will find whether VPNs are legal, which intelligence-sharing Alliances the country is part of, and which popular VPNs are based there.

You will also get a brief overview of each country’s relevant internet laws and censorship practices. While this list will help you identify the countries you need to avoid using a VPN, it's not enough to decide whether you should trust a VPN provider.

The only external way to help you trust a VPN provider is if they they pass external audits but not many VPN providers fall into that category.

Australia

  • Member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs are legal in Australia
  • Popular VPNs based in Australia: Celo VPN, VPNSecure.Me

In general, Australia does not place any restrictions on internet use or access, and VPNs are completely legal. I have actually used VPNs while in Australia.

However, Australia is a core member of the Five Eyes Alliance. You may not be able to ensure the privacy of your unprotected data if it goes through or is stored in this country due to intelligence-sharing agreements.

Australia also requires telecommunication companies to store metadata for two years, and there have been several reported cases of Australian law enforcement accessing encrypted data.

Belarus

  • VPNs are not legal in Belarus

Although the majority of citizens have internet access in Belarus, the government heavily censors online content. Any web pages critical to the government are blocked, particularly during election season.

Use of a VPN is also illegal in Belarus. You could receive a hefty fine if you are caught using a VPN to bypass geo-restricted content.

Belgium

  • Member of Fourteen Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in Belgium

Internet access in Belgium is unrestricted, and the country has a strong commitment to freedom of press and freedom of speech.

However, internet providers in Belgium are subject to warrants and may be required to block certain websites that are engaged in illegal activities. Additionally, holocaust denial and incitement to hatred are offenses punishable by prison time.

British Virgin Islands

  • VPNs ARE legal
  • Popular VPNs based in BVI: ExpressVPN

Although the British Virgin Islands is a UK territory, it is also self-governed by its own laws and legislature. This territory operates outside of any intelligence-sharing agreements, which is good news for VPNs based here. Telecommunications companies based in the British Virgin Islands are not subject to any data retention laws or legal government surveillance. This is one reason ExpressVPN chose the British Virgin Islands for its headquarters.

Bulgaria

  • VPNs ARE legal in Bulgaria
  • Popular VPNs based in Bulgaria: VPNArea

Bulgaria has laws that protect freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and arbitrary government interference with individuals’ privacy. The country has received some criticism for permitting the prosecution to request electronic data without court authorization. There are also concerns that corruption in the government and media may be compromising the country’s freedom of the press and the safety of journalists. Still, there have been no reports to date of this extending to restrictions to internet freedom.

Canada

  • Member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs ARE legal in Canada
  • Popular VPNs based in Canada: Betternet, BTGuard VPN, SurfEasy, TunnelBear, WindScribe

Canada has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to free and unrestricted internet access, including an initiative to provide universal internet access to its citizens. Canadian law has strong protections for freedom of speech and press, and the government has expressed support for net neutrality.

However, Canada is also a core member of the Five Eyes Alliance. Data that goes through or is stored in Canada is subject to intelligence-sharing agreements.

China

  • Only government-approved VPNs are legal in China
  • Popular VPNs based in China: Turbo VPN

China has been repeatedly rated by Freedom House as the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom. Restrictions on internet activity have increased even further with introducing a cybersecurity law that imposes heavy financial consequences on telecommunication companies that do not follow regulations.

In addition to heavy censorship and surveillance, China also requires data localization and real-name registration for internet companies. Telecommunications companies based in China are required to hand over any data requested during government investigations. Even many foreign tech companies, including Apple, have been forced to comply with the new oppressive regulations for Chinese users.

VPN providers are required to request government approval before providing access to the global network. Internet users who are caught accessing the international internet network using VPNs without government approval are subject to fines.

Czech Republic

  • VPNs ARE legal in the Czech Republic
  • Popular VPNs based in the Czech Republic: Avast Secureline

The Czech Republic does not generally restrict internet access and has laws to protect freedom of expression. There are several exceptions to these protections. Hate speech, Holocaust denial, and denial of Communist-era crimes are not considered protected speech. Internet providers are required to block access to certain sites that provide access to untaxed and unregulated foreign lotteries. Some internet providers based in the Czech Republic also have been known to block content that promotes child pornography or racism. There are no known reports of government surveillance of online activity.

Denmark

  • Member of Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs ARE legal in Denmark

Denmark has strong protections in place on freedom of speech, including a specific provision against censorship of any kind. Although there are few government-obligated restrictions on online content, all major internet service providers based in Denmark are cooperating with police initiatives to block child pornography. The majority of Danish internet users are subject to this filter. Some providers also block specific torrenting sites. Since Denmark is a known member of the Nine Eyes Alliance, data that goes through Denmark may not be private due to intelligence-sharing agreements.

Finland

  • VPNs are legal in Finland
  • Popular VPNs based in Finland: F-Secure Freedome

There are no government-mandated restrictions placed on internet access in Finland. Certain internet service providers may block some sites that have been reported to contain child pornography. Although this filter was encouraged by the Finnish police, ultimately, it was voluntary. Providers who have implemented the filter have received some criticism for blocking some pornography sites that were not associated with child pornography.

France

  • Member of Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs are legal in France

France supports freedom of speech and allows unfiltered access to online content. However, there have been concerns about several government proposals to combat fake news and address terrorist threats. These initiatives have led to broader surveillance and data collection practices, including increased intelligence-sharing with Fourteen Eyes allies.

Germany

  • Member of Fourteen Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in Germany
  • Popular VPNs based in Germany: Avira Phantom, Zenmate

Germany has expressed a strong commitment to respecting privacy and freedom of speech, but this dedication has clear limits. Several pieces of legislation have passed that expand Germany’s online surveillance powers both internally and internationally. Laws permit police to monitor citizens' online activity even when there is no suspicion of criminal activity. Germany has also received criticism for its controversial data retention law. The government also is heavily involved in initiatives to censor hate speech from social media and other online outlets.

Gibraltar

  • VPNs are legal in Gibraltar
  • Popular VPNs based in Gibraltar: Buffered, IVPN

Similar to the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar is an autonomous British territory with its own elected government. However, Gibraltar is not entirely independent when it comes to defense and security matters.

The UK reserves the right to assume power and decide foreign policy and security, including implementing surveillance. 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.

Greece

  • VPNs are legal in Greece
  • Popular VPNs based in Greece: ZoogVPN

Greece’s laws contain clear provisions protecting freedom of speech and press, and there is no evidence that the government censors, blocks, or otherwise interfere with online content.

However, the judiciary system has made it clear that privacy laws in Greece do not extend to internet communications. Though the decision is controversial, the police have the right to monitor citizens’ online activity and data legally. Living in Greece, I never had an issue with my online privacy, except ISPs are starting to block torrent sites more and more these days.

Hong Kong

  • VPNs are legal in Hong Kong
  • Popular VPNs based in Hong Kong: BlackVPN, DotVPN, OneVPN, PureVPN, VPN.ht

Although a Chinese territory, Hong Kong maintains autonomy and is able to self-govern for the most part. Chinese censorship and geo-restrictions do not affect Hong Kong, leaving the territory with almost unlimited internet access, with the exception of some web content that promotes pornography or piracy.

That being said, online surveillance by Hong Kong’s governing bodies is common, and there have been concerns about growing attempts from mainland China to increase control of Hong Kong.

Iran

  • Only government-approved VPNs are legal in Iran

Internet freedom in Iran is classified as highly restricted by Freedom House. Antigovernment protests have resulted in significant disruption of internet connections and government blocking of major social media platforms.

VPN providers are required to request government approval before providing access to the global network. Internet users who are caught accessing the international internet network using VPNs without government approval are at risk of up to 1 year of prison time. This law is mainly enforced with vocal opponents of the government rather than average citizens, however.

Israel

  • Third-Party Contributor to Five Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in Israel
  • Popular VPNs based in Israel: Hola VPN (which you should avoid by all means)

Israel provides solid legal protections of freedom of speech, including on the internet. There are no known cases or suspicions of the government censoring online content. Although Israel is not officially a member of any intelligence-sharing Alliance, there are several known cases of Israel working closely with the US on surveillance initiatives since Israeli intelligence agencies have wider-reaching powers than the NSA. It's precisely those powers that you cannot trust even if the legal system protects freedom of speech.

Italy

  • Member of Fourteen Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in Italy
  • Popular VPNs based in Italy: AirVPN

Italy protects freedom of expression, and residents can take advantage of mostly unrestricted internet access, except some filtering of web content promoting child pornography and gambling. Italy has been slow to expand its internet infrastructure. As of 2018, only a little over 60% of the population had consistent internet access, according to Freedom House. There are also various internet privacy concerns in Italy, including a provision requiring telecommunications companies to retain internet data for up to six years.

Japan

  • Suspected Contributor to Five Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in Japan
  • Popular VPNs based in Japan: VPN Gate

Censorship is prohibited in Japan due to the strong protection of freedom of speech. Residents of Japan can enjoy free and unrestricted internet access, though some service providers voluntarily filter certain content such as child pornography.

There have been growing internet privacy concerns, mainly since the Japanese Supreme Court chose not to limit the common police practice of monitoring the online activity of Muslim residents, even those without probable links to terrorism.

Japanese intelligence agencies have access to strong surveillance equipment and have cooperated with US intelligence agencies in the past.

Malaysia

  • VPNs are legal in Malaysia
  • Popular VPNs based in Malaysia: Hide Me VPN

There are no constitutional rights to privacy in Malaysia, and the government has broad power to seize and retain data. Malaysia’s internet freedom has also become more restricted due to the Fake News Act of 2018, a government initiative to censor the spread of fake news.

In general, though, freedom of speech has risen in Malaysia as violence and threats against journalists and internet users have become less frequent. The government has broadly increased access to high-speed internet, including a healthy open market for internet providers.

Netherlands

  • Member of Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs are legal in the Netherlands
  • Popular VPNs based in the Netherlands: Goose VPN

The Netherlands has a close intelligence-sharing relationship with foreign nations as part of the Nine Eyes Alliance. The Netherlands provides its citizens with free and unrestricted internet access, including solid government opposition to censorship. Recently, however, a previously failed proposal was supported by the Dutch Court that requires internet providers to block The Pirate Bay due to copyright infringement.

New Zealand

  • Member of Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs are legal in New Zealand

New Zealand supports freedom of speech, and there is no government-mandated censorship online. The government does offer voluntary support to internet providers who wish to block specific web content. New Zealand intelligence agencies benefit from the intelligence and data-sharing network of the Five Eyes Alliance.

Norway

  • Member of Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes Alliances
  • VPNs are legal in Norway
  • Popular VPNs based in Norway: Opera VPN

Residents of Norway enjoy some of the most unrestricted internet access in the world, both in terms of internet freedom and public access. Citizens have a constitutional right to access government information. Like much of Europe, some internet providers may voluntarily filter child pornography sites. Norway also has a close intelligence-sharing relationship with foreign nations as part of the Nine Eyes Alliance.

Panama

  • VPNs are legal in Panama
  • Popular VPNs based in Panama: NordVPN

Panama is not part of any intelligence-sharing Alliance, and the constitution protects all forms of expression. Residents have free and unrestricted access to the internet. The law in Panama explicitly prohibits arbitrary government or police interference with privacy. Wiretaps and monitoring are not allowed without judicial approval. Some citizens have claimed that they have been subject to unauthorized government monitoring, but this is largely unconfirmed.

Romania

  • VPNs are legal in Romania
  • Popular VPNs based in Romania: CyberGhost, IBVPN, VPN.ac

For the most part, residents of Romania have free and unrestricted internet access. There are some government-mandated filters in place targeting child pornography. The government reserves the right to block access to sites that do not comply with laws surrounding pornography. Romania is considered by many to be privacy-friendly due to its repeated refusal to comply with European Union mandatory data retention laws, declaring them unconstitutional and an infringement on rights to privacy and free expression.

Russia

  • Only government-approved VPNs are legal in Russia
  • Popular VPNs based in Russia: Kaspersky Secure Connection

Russian internet access is classified as not free by Freedom House. The Russian government exercises broad power in international cyberspace and actively works to filter content and spread information that benefits Russian authorities.

Russia is considered to be a significant enemy of the internet by Reporters Without Borders. Russian intelligence agencies also practice widespread surveillance both domestically and internationally.

VPN providers are required to request government approval, while internet users who are caught using VPNs without government approval are subject to fines.

San Marino

  • VPNs are legal in San Marino
  • Popular VPNs based in San Marino: SpyOFF

San Marino has strong legal protections of freedom of speech and is strongly opposed to censorship of any kind. There are no known cases of San Marino monitoring private citizens or cooperating with international intelligence-sharing agreements.

Seychelles

  • VPNs are legal in Seychelles
  • Popular VPNs based in Seychelles: Anonymous VPN, Astrill VPN, BolehVPN, Trust.Zone, VPNTunnel

Seychelles operates outside the influence of international intelligence-sharing communities. It provides its residents with free and mainly unrestricted internet access. The main exception involves the country’s strict defamation laws. There have also been reported cases of the government censoring certain online political content.

Singapore

  • Third-Party Contributor to the Five Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in Signapore
  • Popular VPNs based in Singapore: Ivacy VPN

Although most Singapore residents have internet access, the government censors content both through government mandates and with financial and legal pressures on service providers. The official list of blocked websites is kept secret by the government. There have also been reports of Singapore cooperating with intelligence initiatives of the Five Eyes Alliance.

South Korea

  • Third-Party Contributor to the Five Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in South Korea

Though South Koreans enjoy significantly greater internet freedom than their neighbors to the north, South Korea is still rated as only partly free by Freedom House due to limits on freedom of speech for political content and defamation cases.

Citizens in South Korea have a constitutional right to privacy. However, internet service providers have been encouraged to develop real-name systems for users, which raises concerns for internet freedom and privacy. In addition, South Korea has been reported to cooperate with intelligence-sharing initiatives of the Five Eyes Alliance in the past.

Spain

  • Fourteen Eyes Alliance Member
  • VPNs are legal in Spain

Spain has strict laws to protect not only freedom of speech but also personal data and privacy. However, due to Spain’s relationship with foreign intelligence agencies in the Fourteen Eyes Alliance, privacy isn’t guaranteed.

Sweden

  • Fourteen Eyes Alliance Member
  • VPNs are legal in Sweden
  • Popular VPNs based in Sweden: AzireVPN, FrootVPN, Mullvad, PrivateVPN

Sweden’s legal system protects freedom of speech, prohibits most censorship, and bans arbitrary interference with privacy. To monitor online traffic, including national security matters, intelligence agencies are required first to get court permission. However, Sweden’s relationship with foreign intelligence agencies in the Fourteen Eyes Alliance means that online privacy may not be entirely secure.

Switzerland

  • VPNs are legal in Switzerland
  • Popular VPNs based in Switzerland: Perfect Privacy, ProtonVPN, VyprVPN

Switzerland is widely considered to be a friend of internet freedom and personal privacy. Citizens enjoy a constitutional right to freedom of speech, and breaches of privacy are punishable by law. Although citizens voted to approve a referendum allowing the government to monitor citizens’ online activities, there has not been evidence that this power has been abused. Switzerland is also not known to cooperate with international intelligence-sharing agreements.

United Kingdom

  • Founding Member of Five Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in the United Kingdom
  • Popular VPNs based in the UK: HMA, SaferVPN

The United Kingdom guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of information for citizens. Although privacy protection is also legally enforced, there has been a concerning trend toward increased government and police surveillance.

Government authorities justify the growing surveillance of online activity by claiming it is necessary to fight terrorism and child abuse. Due to its role as one of the two founding members of the Five Eyes Alliance, the UK has access to a wide network of international intelligence and surveillance.

United States of America

  • Founding Member of Five Eyes Alliance
  • VPNs are legal in the USA
  • Popular VPNs based in the US: Ace VPN, Anonymizer VPN, Encrypt Me, Hide All IP, Hide My IP, HotSpot Shield, HoxxVPN, IPVanish, LiquidVPN, Norton WiFi Privacy, PersonalVPN, Private Internet Access, Private Tunnel, ProxPN, Ra4w VPN, SecureVPN, SlickVPN, Speedify, StrongVPN, SwitchVPN, TorGuard, Touch VPN, VPN Unlimited

There are strong constitutional protections of freedom of speech and freedom of the press in the United States. The US has expressed a strong commitment to protecting privacy and internet freedom. In light of many controversies surrounding government surveillance, it is questionable how strong the US’s commitment to privacy is. Counterterrorism efforts have mostly justified increased surveillance. The US has access to one of the most sophisticated online surveillance systems globally. It can also take advantage of a robust network of international intelligence and surveillance as one of the founding members of the Five Eyes Alliance.

AceVPNUSN
Betternet Free VPNUSN
Confirmed VPNUSN
Encrypt.meUSN
Free VPN by FreeVPN.orgUSN
Hotspot ShieldUSN
IPVanishUSN
KeepSolid VPN UnlimitedUSN
McAfee Safe ConnectUSN
Norton Secure VPNUSN
PersonalVPNUSN
Private Internet AccessUSN
PrivateTunnelUSN
SaferVPNUSN
Slick VPNUSY
Strong VPNUSN
SwitchVPNUSN
TorGuardUSN
Touch VPNUSN
VPN 360USN
VPNhub FreeUSY
Webroot WiFi SecurityUSN
HideMyAss!UKN
VPN99UKN
ZPN FreeUAEN
AzireVPNSwedenN
Mullvad VPNSwedenN
PrivateVPNSwedenN
IvacySingaporeN
Proxy Master by HotspotVPNSingaporeN
Snap VPNSingaporeN
Turbo VPNSingaporeN
VPN Proxy MasterSingaporeN
Kaspersky Secure ConnectionRussiaN
AirVPNItalyN
Hola Free VPNIsraelN
Avira Phantom VPNGermanyY
mySteganos Online ShieldGermanyN
ZenmateGermanyN
DefenceVPNCanadaY
PsiphonCanadaN
SurfEasyCanadaN
TunnelBearCanadaN
WindscribeCanadaN
#VPNBelarusN
Celo VPNAustraliaN
Goose VPNThe NetherlandsN
proXPNThe NetherlandsN
HotVPNUndisclosedN
SuperVPN FreeUndisclosedN
Thunder VPNUndisclosedN
Buffered VPNGibraltarN
IVPNGibraltarY
TigerVPNSlovakiaN
Bitdefender VPNRomaniaN
CyberGhostRomaniaN
ibVPNRomaniaN
VPN.acRomaniaN
VPNShazamPalestineN
CactusVPNMoldovaN
BlackVPN Hong KongN
DotVPN Hong KongN
Hidester VPN Hong KongN
Le VPNHong KongN
OneVPNHong KongN
PureVPNHong KongN
SkyVPNHong KongN
VPN.htHong KongY
VPNSecureHong KongN
X-VPNHong KongN
Yoga VPNHong KongN
ZoogVPNGreeceY
F-Secure FreedomeFinlandN
Avast SecureLine VPNCzech RepublicY
AVG Secure VPNCzech RepublicN
VPNAreaBulgariaN
Perfect PrivacySwitzerlandY
ProtonVPNSwitzerlandY
VPNBookSwitzerlandN
VyprVPNSwitzerlandN
Anonymous VPNSeychellesN
AstrillSeychellesN
BolehVPNSeychellesY
FrootVPNSeychellesN
Trust.ZoneSeychellesY
NordVPNPanamaY
Hide.meMalaysiaN
FastestVPNCayman IslandsN
ExpressVPNBritish Virgin IslandsN
SurfsharkBritish Virgin IslandsY
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