While Elon Musk likes to have fun by trolling game companies, there are times when his work is the subject of controversy. A recent report states that Russia may be looking to fine citizens for using Starlink internet, which was set up by his space program SpaceX in 2018.
As well as fining regular users, the Russian government may also be looking to punish companies that use Starlink. While citizens can expect to be fined between 10,000 and 30,000 rubles (around $135-$405 US), businesses may have to pay up to one million rubles (just over $13,000 US). Elon Musk took to Twitter earlier this month to express concerns about the news, insisting that he just wants help “get people to Mars.”
Starlink is a satellite-based internet system that utilizes a series of satellites in low-orbit. Currently, there are 944 of them that have already been sent up (143 of which were launched last weekend) with the goal of having 42,000 satellites in total. The end result is to encase the earth in superfast internet for all citizens, a commodity which has become crucial and seen record-breaking use thanks in part to the Xbox Series X, at least in the UK.
The report indicates Starlink may be detrimental to authoritarian systems such as those in Russia because, according to John Byrne, service director at GlobalData, the government “doesn’t control space.” Having said that, they do have the authority to control vertical space, such as where airplanes can travel within airspace. Being unable to have control over the SpaceX program means regimes are unable to monitor internet usage, which is likely to be a good thing for users.