On 5 June 2013, whistleblower Edward Snowden first exposed how governments are invading our privacy on a massive scale.
As a former analyst for the USA’s National Security Agency (NSA), he showed the world how intelligence agencies are working together to spy on our emails, web searches, calls and so much more. But that’s not all.
The documents he leaked also revealed how governments are willingly sharing our personal data with the USA. We’ve learned that the NSA has secret pacts to share intelligence with at least 41 countries.
These private arrangements are almost totally hidden from view and attack the privacy of hundreds of millions of people. Explore the map below to see whether your government is sharing data with the USA.
Do we want to live in a society where we live totally naked in front of government, and they are totally opaque to us?Edward Snowden
Does your country share data with the USA and its allies?
Brought to you by Amnesty International and Privacy International.The ‘Five Eyes’ allianceFor 70 years, the UK, USA, New Zealand, Canada and Australia have formed an integrated global surveillance network, exchanging intercepted communications with each other by default. Europe Pact For 33 years, the Five Eyes have co-operated with this European club, providing technology in return for access to their networks, and exchanging some intercepted communications. Special allies in the Asia-Pacific regionAcross the region, the Five Eyes are providing technology and assistance. They may also be exchanging some intercepted communications, but the arrangement is shrouded in secrecy Third-party countriesLittle is known about the extent and scale of the links between the Five Eyes and other third-party countries, but the existence of the relationship suggests co-operation in intercepting and sharing communications.
Cosy deals and secret clubs
The top table of intelligence-sharing and the most secretive club in the business is known as the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance, which includes the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The NSA also has cosy deals with other countries in Europe, as well as with countries across Asia and beyond.
But why does this matter? Because most of us don’t want foreign governments to be able to spy on us. Our recent poll showed that, across the globe, people object strongly to mass surveillance by the USA.
This is going to be one of the most impactful human rights issues of the next 30 years.Edward Snowden
These dodgy pacts underline the danger of mass surveillance. Governments are not only intercepting our communications within their borders, but also sending them around the world to other governments. The private arrangements are so extensive and secretive that we really can’t be sure where else our data goes.
What’s more, governments have also been applying laws so they can spy on people from other countries more easily. We need to end these discriminatory laws, and tell governments to protect people’s privacy equally, whether they’re at home or abroad.
If we don’t get a handle on these things, we’re going to find that free and liberal societies no longer exist.Edward Snowden, whistleblower and former security analyst
The death of secrets
Our emails, texts and calls may seem inconsequential. But when these small fragments of our lives are assembled, they can be used to form a detailed picture of who we are.