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New Reports Reveal Five Eyes’ Surge in Biometric Data Collection

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Big Brother might be always “watching you” – but guess what, five (pairs) of eyes sound better than one. Especially when you’re a group of countries out to do mass surveillance across different jurisdictions, and incidentally or not, name yourself by picking one from the “dystopian baby names” list.

But then again, those “eyes” might be so many and so ambitious in their surveillance bid, that they end up criss-crossed, not serving their citizens well at all.

And so, the Five Eyes, (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK) – an intelligence alliance, brought together by (former) colonial and language ties that bind – has been collecting no less than 100 times more biometric data – including demographics and other information concerning non-citizens – over the last 3 years, since about 2011.

That’s according to reports, which basically tell you – if you’re a Five Eye national or visit out of the UN’s remaining 188 member countries – expect to be under thorough, including biometric, surveillance.

The program is (perhaps misleadingly?) known as the “Migration 5,” (‘Known to One, Known to All” is reportedly the slogan. It sounds cringe, but also, given the promise of the Five Eyes – turns out, other than sounding embarrassing, it actually is.)

And at least as far as the news now surfacing about it, it was none other than “junior partner” New Zealand that gave momentum to reports about the situation. The overall idea is to keep a close, including a biometric, eye on the cross-border movement within the Five Eye member countries.

How that works for the US, with its own liberal immigration policy, is anybody’s guess at this point. But it does seem like legitimate travelers, with legitimate citizenship outside – and even inside – the “Five Eyes” might get caught up in this particular net the most.

“Day after day, people lined up at the United States Consulate, anxiously waiting, clutching the myriad documents they need to work or study in America,” a report from New Zealand said.

“They’ve sent in their applications, given up their personal details, their social media handles, their photos, and evidence of their reason for visiting. They press their fingerprints on to a machine to be digitally recorded.”

The overall “data hunger” between the 5 of these post WW2 – now “criss-crossed” – eyes has been described as rising to 8 million biometric checks over the past years.

“The UK now says it may reach the point where it checks everyone it can with its Migration 5 partners,” says one report.

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