13 votes

Russia may fine citizens who use SpaceX’s Starlink Internet service

12 comments

  1. [7]
    vord
    Link
    This is a completely reasonable stance. Let's flip this on its head for a moment. Would the USA support its citizens using internet from Russian/Chinese company/government owned satellites? The...

    This is a completely reasonable stance. Let's flip this on its head for a moment.

    Would the USA support its citizens using internet from Russian/Chinese company/government owned satellites?

    The three letter agencies of the USA have basically 0 barrier to getting any information they want from US companies.

    We get all up in arms about foreign interference, they have just as much right to do so in reverse.

    11 votes
    1. [5]
      Greg
      Link Parent
      I'm not 100% sure how to read the tone of your post, so I'll just say this: the fact that the US government might behave in the same way doesn't make the Russian government right, it makes both of...

      I'm not 100% sure how to read the tone of your post, so I'll just say this: the fact that the US government might behave in the same way doesn't make the Russian government right, it makes both of them wrong.

      10 votes
      1. [4]
        vord
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        As @the_funky_buddha mentioned, tribalism is part of the problem. But it's not an article about minimizing tribalism. It's an article being critical of Russia for distrusting a US-based internet...

        As @the_funky_buddha mentioned, tribalism is part of the problem. But it's not an article about minimizing tribalism. It's an article being critical of Russia for distrusting a US-based internet provider which does not confirm to Russia's regulations. As with most articles about Russia, there is a distinct undertone of "USA good, Russia bad."

        I know I'm re-iterating, but Russia is right to be distrustful of SpaceX because they know (as should everybody at this point) that any company based in the USA can be readily co-opted by the various branches of the military for surveillance, especially of non-Americans. And it's no secret that the USA can and will abuse that power.

        I'll be more concerned with "both sides are wrong" when I see another article in in Arstechnica criticizing the USA for restricting access to Sphere.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          It genuinely seems like a pretty even-handed article to me. It gives air to the Russian concerns about the platform, but also makes clear their primary reasoning: I actually have a grudging...

          It genuinely seems like a pretty even-handed article to me. It gives air to the Russian concerns about the platform, but also makes clear their primary reasoning:

          In the Russian-language article, translated for Ars by Robinson Mitchell, members of the Duma assert that accessing the Internet independently would bypass the country's System of Operational Search Measures, which monitors Internet use and mobile communications. As part of the country's tight control on media and communications, all Russian Internet traffic must pass through a Russian communications provider.

          I actually have a grudging respect for them saying it openly: they don't want people to bypass their own monitoring. It's not (primarily) about American spying, or it would only be an issue for infrastructure and corporations, not individuals.

          If America were to ban Sphere, I'd want very similar reporting, and I think Arstechnica would be reasonably likely to provide it.

          The closest existing comparison I can think of is the encryption ban that the US keeps trying to pass - another example of a government actings because they don't want individuals to bypass their own monitoring, and frankly a much more dangerous one than just banning a service. The reporting seems to have been appropriately scathing, and I don't feel that Russia is getting the short end of the stick here.

          7 votes
          1. vord
            Link Parent
            After a bit more thought, I think you are right that I am being a touch hard on Ars...they are generally more fair about tech reporting than most. However, I anticipate the hypothetical Sphere...

            After a bit more thought, I think you are right that I am being a touch hard on Ars...they are generally more fair about tech reporting than most. However, I anticipate the hypothetical Sphere article would sound more like this (especially in other outlets):

            US intelligence authorities have uncovered documents that reveal that Sphere is a direct attempt by Russia to subvert american democracy.
            Our sources tell us that Sphere will be operating with the Russian Firewall in place, blocking access to content that Russia deems against its interests. Russia has denied access from SpaceX for similar reasons, because SpaceX would not give in to demands to integrate the Russian Firewall.
            "It's quite obvious that Sphere is a direct attempt of the Russian government to advance their efforts to extend their propaganda network and use it to advance their efforts to subvert our elections as they did in 2016 and 2020."
            Citing these concerns, US lawmakers have introduced legislation banning the operation of Sphere in the USA, instituting fines for individuals of $100, and groups $10,000.

            2 votes
          2. vord
            Link Parent
            But that same person, numerous times before (as also reported), stresses how much this is about the advancing the interests of the US military. There's also a whole host of other problems, which...

            But that same person, numerous times before (as also reported), stresses how much this is about the advancing the interests of the US military.

            There's also a whole host of other problems, which also include SpaceX being able to force application of US internet laws in Russia (and other countries) with the other countries having no say.

            And keep in mind: the USA has, on a wide variety of issues, decided that the rights US citizens have don't apply to anyone else in the world.

            1 vote
    2. the_funky_buddha
      Link Parent
      Perhaps reasonable, not optimal if we want less tribalism in the world.

      Perhaps reasonable, not optimal if we want less tribalism in the world.

      2 votes
  2. [5]
    JakeTheDog
    Link
    How would the government be able to know and identify users?

    How would the government be able to know and identify users?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      blitz
      Link Parent
      Maybe there's a good method, but it could also just be being set up as a secondary charge. If it's hard to detect, lots of people will probably get away with using it without repercussion, but if...

      Maybe there's a good method, but it could also just be being set up as a secondary charge. If it's hard to detect, lots of people will probably get away with using it without repercussion, but if you commit some sort of crime and they come and search your house and find one of these units there, that gives them the ability to tack on some extra punishment.

      There's lots of laws on the books in many countries that function like this, including (in some states, I think) seatbelt laws. An officer can't pull you over for not wearing a seatbelt, but if you get pulled over and it's observed you're not wearing a seatbelt, you get an extra ticket.

      9 votes
      1. emdash
        Link Parent
        The humorous analogy I've always been told about this is "you can either speed, or you can carry a dead body in your cars' trunk—just not both at the same time".

        The humorous analogy I've always been told about this is "you can either speed, or you can carry a dead body in your cars' trunk—just not both at the same time".

        5 votes
    2. the_funky_buddha
      Link Parent
      Non-locally? IP address. Locally? Probably similar to how the FCC here can detect you using unauthorized bands, radio equipment, generally only if, as stated by blitz, you're causing trouble.

      Non-locally? IP address. Locally? Probably similar to how the FCC here can detect you using unauthorized bands, radio equipment, generally only if, as stated by blitz, you're causing trouble.

      2 votes