back to article Civil rights warriors file US lawsuit: Let us see Five Eyes agreement

The campaign group Privacy International has filed a lawsuit to try to force authorities to release the latest details of the Five Eyes surveillance agreement. The Five Eyes nations – the UK, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – have an agreement to gather and share intelligence, but the details of this are, …

  1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Fair point

    No one disputes that FoI shouldn't be available to see what info the Security Services have on a potential 'subject of interest' or possibly, even where they got the info (at least until they're charged).

    But it does seem extremely reasonable that, in a 'so-called' democracy, the principles and agreements that they operate under are open to public scrutiny. What harm could that possibly do?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fair point

      I agree but the harm it could do is immeasurable to the governments.

      Can you imagine (tin foil hat required but not assured) if everything and I mean everything you do with your computer, tablet, phone (including microphone and camera), bank, loyalty cards etc... is collected along with facial recognition, car number plate recognition and any travelling you do to build up a complete picture of your whole life?

      I can't see many sitting back and allowing that to carry on.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fair point

        I agree but the harm it could do is immeasurable to the governments.

        Or perhaps you mean that the good it could do is immeasurable.

        It depends whether or not government is just about individual bureaucrats and politicians grasping as much power as they can and hanging onto it for as long as they can. I think that correctly describes the British Government's historical priorities, but I don't know about Canada, New Zealand etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fair point

          It is the same in Canada. Every Government since, at least, Brian Mulroney has increased the powers of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO). Yes, that includes International favourite Justin Trudeau. He's turning out to be a disappointment, as many expected he'd behave in a more civilly minded manner. We expected as much from Stephen Harper with his very right-wing agenda, so Trudeau is more disappointing to many; but, I'm rather cynical so not easily surprised.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Can you imagine..I mean build..a complete picture..of your whole life?

        Well, to mis quote creepy Eric Schmidt, perhaps if they are worried what people would think about the amount of data they collected on people with no probable cause they shouldn't be doing it in the first place?

        I might expect that such an agreement would simply say

        1)This is an agreement between the parties listed.

        2)They will share information between themselves.

        But given the amount of trouble they've gone to to not release a later version it would seem there's something more to find.

      3. Scroticus Canis

        Re: I can't see many sitting back and allowing that to carry on.

        Just about the entire combined populations of the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have done and sadly will continue to do so. They just don't care or give a damn.

        Never underestimate the level of humanity's collective apathy! Homo sapiens indeed!

  2. deadlockvictim


    I suspect that the agreements themselves are rather vague and probably couched in anti-communist rhetoric. I wouldn't be surprised if it simply an agreement to share information between specified agencies within the 5 states and the detail has been left up to the agencies in question.

    1. elDog

      Re: vague

      And even if they gave us a scan of the photocopy of the facsimile of the mimeo of the 1946 Smith-Corona typed document, would it really be what it says it is? I wouldn't trust these buggers to be honest with us, or honest with each other.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    And if they get something ...

    how good a description do they expect it to be of what actually happens ?

  4. lglethal Silver badge

    Nothing to see here...

    "Privacy International has been waging a campaign to get its hands on a more up-to-date version of this document..."

    Alright, alright. Fine! Here is the Agreement from 1956. Satisfied?

  5. Herby

    Good luck...

    They are going to need it. Nice try, but it isn't going to happen. An intelligence agency disclosing something, nice try. They don't talk about anything publicly. Any attempt is going to be wishful thinking.

    Of course it would be nice to know, but exactly what good is it going to do for the "average Joe".

    Now where is that check that comes every month from a funny company :-). (I wish!).

  6. Chris Coles

    Lord Denning once told me; Everyone answers to the Law

    "Such requests are futile, as groups like the UK’s GCHQ are usually exempted from FoI laws."

    Some years ago I had an interesting conversation, over the telephone, with Lord Denning, then Master of the Rolls, (he was always listed and did indeed answer the phone when called). He made it crystal clear, everyone answers to the law; no one can be excluded from the law of the land; all laws apply to everyone; so this statement is entirely wrong and indeed; unlawful.

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Lord Denning once told me; Everyone answers to the Law

      read the FOI act 2001, GCHQ are not above the law, they are exempted from it.

      See part II section 23 subsection 3

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