Five Eyes: the international syndicate that spies on the entire world (2)

Read the first part of the article

The China Syndrome

In the 21st century, mere national monopolies are no longer sufficient for Silicon Valley moguls and their shepherds in the intelligence community. Firms like Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter command near-global monopolies in their respective markets. This means that as long as those Western firms permeate and dominate the planetary information space, Five Eyes operatives only require a backdoor into a handful of these firms to surveil and control almost every aspect of public (and even private) life.

Controlling technology markets has become a matter of paramount concern for the Five Eyes. That includes keeping out any foreign product which could cause a wrinkle in their control matrix.

As expected, this situation feeds neatly into a ready-made geopolitical drama, especially if the Trojan Horse in question arrives in the form of a Chinese firm. As Britain expedites the roll-out of its controversial high-frequency 5G network, new security concerns have surfaced at the heart of the Five Eyes as politicians and spooks debate the possibility a foreign actor could compromise the alliance from within.

Western technocrats have rushed to finalise preparations to create a grid of “smart cities” and smart infrastructure including fleets of self-driving cars on “smart highways,” as well as a host of public services – all linked as part of the “internet of things.” To make this project work, the UK has to partner with the only company who can deliver enough advanced equipment on time and on budget – Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

In theory, Five Eyes fears may be warranted. With 5G set to provide the new framework for real-time spying and data monitoring, Western spy chiefs and politicians are afraid of becoming too reliant on potential geopolitical and commercial rival China.

Practically speaking, Huawei’s hardware is fairly standardised and compatible with other components used to configure the UK’s new 5G network, and to date, there is no proof of any latent Chinese spyware in any of the components in question.

UK spy chiefs are already lining up in defence of the realm, with former MI6 head Richard Dearlove chiming in: “…we need to conclude the engagement of Huawei presents a potential security risk to the UK. The key question that follows is can that risk be sufficiently mitigated to render it negligible?

A number of tertiary arguments against Huawei are being employed by Western officials including charges that China steals Western intellectual property, or that Chinese firms are inherently ‘anti-competitive’ because of state subsidies given to many enterprises.

Reading between the lines, more of a worry for the Five Eyes (or a privatised Spectre syndicate) is the fact that a whole range of other Huawei products could employ a different proprietary Chinese encryption protocol that would give not only Chinese officials and intelligence workers a privacy edge, but the public mass-consumer too – keeping the NSA from intercepting a user’s communications, or at least making it much more difficult. Thus, keeping Chinese products out of Western surveillance zones could be a major priority for Five Eyes technocrats.

Earlier in 2020, US President Donald Trump escalated the technology war with China by signing an executive order that prohibits US companies from installing any “foreign-made” telecoms equipment which the US deems a national security threat, meaning that Huawei requires a special license issued at the discretion of Washington.

Huawei Chairman Liang Hua responded at an industry press conference during the China-Germany-USA Media Forum, saying that the US placing Huawei on its entity list has had “no substantial impact” on Huawei’s business and that all of the company’s flagship products are shipping as normal.

Liang Hua remarked that in only two or three years, Huawei will have developed a complete technological and commercial “ecosystem” for its range of products, making it more difficult for the Five Eyes syndicate to maintain their digital hegemony by aiming to shut Huawei out of international markets.

Naturally, this poses a direct threat to the West’s global digital media and communications mafia, and its overlapping fraternal network of government agencies, corporations and ‘white-collar’ organised criminal syndicates.

The War On Encryption

Aside from concerns about statecraft, most independent-conscience citizens might be alarmed by the unbridled Orwellian power of such a global operation. On this point, there is little advice one can offer other than to stay off social media or go ‘off-grid’ (offline) as much as possible to avoid leaving a detailed digital footprint that can be used to build a profile on you.

For those who depend on the internet for their day-to-day existence, going off-grid is not really a practical option, but there are tools available that can help make surveillance difficult for 5, 9, and 14 Eyes member governments.

Besides using a reliable encrypted chat or messaging service, if you are not already using a Virtual Private Network (VPN), then now may be a good time to start. VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic and scrambles your IP address, making it difficult for anyone monitoring you online to pinpoint your identity, device, and physical location.

One key requirement is pursueing to use a service based outside the Fourteen Eyes countries. This means you may not be immediately exposed should your service provider’s host country ask for back door access to your internet records. If you are using a service within the Fourteen, then be sure to choose a company that has a ‘no logs’ policy. In other words, should a US or UK agency like the NSA or GCHQ make a formal request from a service provider to hand over all your internet search data, then there will be nothing they can hand over.

Likewise, you can use a number of encrypted instant messaging services like Telegram, or encrypted email services like Proton Mail, and also consider using an internet browser that doesn’t keep data on your surfing like Brave, or a search engine like Duck Duck Go which doesn’t save data on all of your search activity.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to Five Eyes hegemony are digital services that use end-to-end encryption. This means only the sender and receiver can view the content, concealing communications from the prying eyes of Western spy agencies.

Needless to say, insatiable state authoritarians are not happy about this and have laid down a harrowing ultimatum to tech companies, demanding write-in backdoor access protocols supposedly for “law enforcement.” If firms do not comply, government officials threaten they should be ready for brute force intrusions by agents of the state.

Knowing they do not have the public on their side, governments have resorted to intimidation and scare tactics in order to swing public opinion in their favour.

While served as Home Secretary in 2015, former UK Prime Minister Theresa May authored a rather opprobrious piece of legislation entitled the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA), which outlines where the British police state is heading in terms of privacy and encryption. The bill requires that any “communications service provider” (ISPs, social media platforms, VOIP, email providers and messaging service) “must” comply with a secret warrant signed by the Home Secretary which names any persons or organisations the government wishes to spy on. One watchdog organisation who has followed the IPA is the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

According to researchers, the draconian decree, also known as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, requires tech companies to insert special malware onto their systems so the spooks can use their platforms to “interfere with any other system.” The secret warrant explicitly allows those companies to violate any other laws in complying with the warrant. Essentially, the warrant enables said tech firms to violate the law in the process of complying with the government’s secret snooper’s warrant.

This would also include the Home Secretary ordering firms like Facebook, Samsung or Apple to quietly remove their ‘secure communication’ features from products without notifying the public about it. In terms of its legality (or lack thereof), the devil is in the absence of detail. Danny O’Brien from EFF noted how the UK government has been very careful not to pin itself down with any specifics, explaining, “Sure enough, the word ‘encryption’ does not appear in the Investigatory Powers Act (IPA). That’s because it is written so broadly it doesn’t need to.”

EFF describes the severity of the IPA in terms of riding roughshod over basic civil rights and protections: “The Investigatory Powers Bill, one of the first laws to explicitly permit such techniques for law enforcement and intelligence work, contains very little in the way of oversight, and grants the British government an almost blank check for deploying malware against individual users as well as the heart of the internet’s infrastructure.

It also demands that private companies and persons assist in the deployment of this spyware, no matter where they operate in the world, and requires that this assistance be kept permanently secret from customers, partners, and the general public.

IPA provisions might also include the government forcing a chain of coffee shops to use the company’s free WiFi service to deploy British spy agency malware against its customers.

The state’s intrusion goes even further with the IPA laying the parameters for the UK government to demand tech companies supply them with new product designs… in advance of commercial release.

This is a shocking act of overreach by the British state – one that exceeds even the most invasive state intervention in a country like China.

One has to ask: given the chance, would the UK government eventually pursue a complete ban on encryption?

While there is considerable push-back from tech companies and public advocacy groups, there’s surprisingly little rebellion from most mainline politicians, partly because they are not being pressured from their constituents on this issue.

What anti-privacy initiatives like the IPA clearly demonstrate is that Britain is the one clearly setting the dark tone and aggressive pace for the Five Eyes cohort.

The agenda clearly seeks a renewed license to put tech firms in a corner by deploying emotive language and invoking evermore dramatic conspiracy claims.

In her article written for the Telegraph, current UK Home Secretary Priti Patel even went so far as to equate Facebook’s noncompliance with aiding and abetting ‘child abusers, drug traffickers and terrorists plotting attacks.’

Of course, Patel’s comments shouldn’t surprise anyone who has followed the issue of privacy over the years, particularly in the post-9/11 era where politicians and national security state operatives routinely gaslight the public to justify every intrusion or roll-back of privacy rights by citing the most extreme and infrequent instances of ‘terrorism’.

For the 21st century technocracy and police state, that’s been the gift that just keeps giving, but by the same token the public have become increasingly wary of such dramatic government claims due to the fact that very rarely, if ever, has government wiretapping or backdoor spying actually thwarted a terrorist attack in what is popularly referred to in national security rhetoric and Hollywood propaganda lore as ‘the ticking bomb’ scenario.

According to a report by security experts Sophos, at a recent Five Eyes security summit officials left no doubt as to their intentions, stating: “Tech companies should include mechanisms in the design of their encrypted products and services whereby governments, acting with appropriate legal authority, can obtain access to data in a readable and usable format.”

Five Eyes member Australia took the matter even further, threatening to “break in” if tech companies do not facilitate the access requirements of the state.

This new policy initiative was expressed unabashedly in a memo issued by the Australian Dept of Home Affairs on behalf of the Five Eyes alliance:

The Governments of the Five Eyes encourage information and communications technology service providers to voluntarily establish lawful access solutions to their products and services that they create or operate in our countries….

Should governments continue to encounter impediments to lawful access to information necessary to aid the protection of the citizens of our countries, we may pursue technological, enforcement, legislative or other measures to achieve lawful access solutions.

A closer look at the memo reveals that Australia’s authoritarian designs are not restricted to stopping terrorists and paedophiles but appear to target any entities they feel are “sowing discord” (including any popular dissenting opinion and analysis), that supposedly threatens our vaunted “democratic institutions.”

This may also include any foreign media (as depicted in the heavily promoted ‘Russian disinformation’ narrative), independent media, and free-thinking persons on social media.

The language could not be more arbitrary:

We are determined to ensure that the technologies that have been developed to enhance prosperity and freedom are not exploited by those who seek to promote terrorism and violent extremism; prey upon and exploit our children; or spread disinformation and discord to undermine our democratic institutions.

This, alongside Britain’s notorious ‘Snooper’s Charter’, demonstrates how Five Eyes partners are working in concert by gradually laying down an alliance-wide legal framework that will legitimise what would normally be unwarranted activity by state agencies. This is done by suspending any constitutional provisions or rights – all in the name of protecting national security, or even the national interest as the state defines it.

Many leading VPNs and messaging services can protect your data with 256-bit encryption, now used in most modern encryption algorithms and protocols. For the moment, this technology offers fairly robust protection from the prying eyes of the intelligence services, but advances in computing power may eventually put many of these protections at grave risk.

New advances in quantum computing threaten to usher in a new event horizon whereby the next generation of computers could conceivably crack today’s industry-standard 256-bit encryption key in a relatively short period of time – in mere minutes, or even seconds. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have shown how a quantum processor can crack a seemingly impenetrable 2,048-bit RSA encryption in only eight hours. Exactly how far off we are to this quantum revolution is anyone’s guess but when it arrives it could tip the scales of privacy away from the consumer and in favour of those organisations who control this new technology, namely Silicon Valley monopolists and the intergovernmental Five Eyes complex.

On the flip side, advances in quantum decryption may also coincide with new methods of encryption that could slow down quantum crackers enough to make decryption impractical. It’s incredible to think that these technological battles waged in binary virtual space may end up defining our relationship with the state in the physical world.

Things are moving extremely fast right now. Such a dystopic state of affairs is necessary to be resisted on every level. Our future depends on it.


November 13, 2022


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