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I've been thinking about Elon Musk's internet over satellite project. It requires a receiver to use this internet service and customers pay directly to his company for the service.

This made me think, if my government blocks specific online resources, they would have no control over me via this system. And also, I pay taxes to get internet, but with this system they may not be able raise taxes. I pay to SpaceX, I get the service from them.

Suppose a country wants to block its citizens from accessing this service. Can they do that? How?

And another thing: sometimes they use ISP's logs as evidence in court, but if I use satellite internet from SpaceX, how may they get those?

I really wonder if the government can control such satellite internet projects?

  • Hi, welcome to the site! As it stands, it's pretty unclear what your question is - this seems more like a request for discussion which is not what this site is for. I'd advise you take a look at the Help Center and then see if you can edit this to be a specific, answerable question. – CoedRhyfelwr Oct 31 '19 at 12:50
  • Government, home to the company (US in this case) - surely can. Other government - that depends on country. If country is enough advanced, it can just suppress satellites signals. – user2501323 Oct 31 '19 at 13:11
  • @user2501323 is it possible to do it? How can he detect only internet satellites. There are also gps satellites or others. How can they target only internet satellites? – ArgeKumandan Oct 31 '19 at 13:44
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    @CoedRhyfelwr I've tried to clarify the question. Specifically, I think the question is to what extent a government can control satellite internet compared to internet from a local ISP. – JJ for Transparency and Monica Oct 31 '19 at 15:04
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    it would be hard/impossible to block downloads (content), but easy to block uploads (clicks). – dandavis Oct 31 '19 at 16:36
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They can't. The best example from history we have is pirate radio stations popular in the 20th century. Operators would set up a radio mast in international waters and broadcast a signal strong enough that recipients inside the country could listen.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/REM_Island

In the UK, it was actually illegal to listen to the pirate radio station, but this did not stop UK newspapers from printing up schedules for UK citizens who wanted to listen to it illegally. Despite this, the stations that remained in international waters continued operating without being raided.

The only option for repressive countries would be to ask the United States to outlaw Elon Musk's operation (doubtful) or try to jam the signal (plausible).

However, unlike radio, Internet communication require two way transmission. Every time you request a file from the internet, you first have to transmit a request to a server. Therefore, the easiest option for countries would be to simply make it illegal for citizens to use the satellite internet. To catch them, they would only need to triangulate the signal of a computer communicating with the satellite internet and then arrest that person on the spot.

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Why would you think that SpaceX is different from any other ISPs? They want to make business in your country, so they must abide by the country laws, and will block the same resources and identify users when requested. SpaceX not having physical infrastructure in the country is completely irrelevant to having to obey the law.

If your question is more about "what would happen if they ignored the laws", first of all that would be very unlikely, and would cause lots of backslash. But even ignoring that, we can't know what steps the government would take, but it would probably ban them from operating in the country (meaning you wouldn't be able of paying them, or ordering the receptor from them), and/or banning its usage (prosecuting their users).

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    I think OP is asking about the second case. How other countries can defend against infitration of US-controlled network, which ignore local laws. – user2501323 Oct 31 '19 at 13:13
  • @user2501323 exactly what i am asking ;) – ArgeKumandan Oct 31 '19 at 13:43
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    I think it's a reasonable question. Compare it with simpler GPS devices, can a country block those in practice? – JJ for Transparency and Monica Oct 31 '19 at 15:07
  • @JJJ yes, GPS is easy to block or disrupt, it’s a relatively weak signal. – Moo Nov 1 '19 at 4:34
  • The government could start by blocking your payments to SpaceX. SpaceX could retaliate by making it free in your country. – user253751 Nov 1 '19 at 9:17

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