One of the reasons China is able to create and maintain control of its massive firewalls is because the internet lines connecting it and the rest of the world is finite. Place the firewall in front of those lines and you can easily control what data goes in or out of the country’s borders.
But, what happens when the number of data lines into the country becomes infinite?
That is precisely what will happen once a few corporations finish building out their world wide high-speed satellite internet network.
Known as LEO (low earth orbit) satellites, these are launched by the hundreds, or thousands, with the goal to eventually cover the entire earth.
There are six companies in this race: SpaceX (Elon Musk), Iridium, Blue Origin (Jeff Bezos), OneWeb, Facebook and Alphabet (Google).
As you can see, its mostly American companies at this point. Probably because most other countries value their ability to constrain speech and knowledge?
Once completed, all it will take to bypass China’s firewall (or any other country’s firewall) will be a special phone or a small satellite dish. Unless China plans on knocking those satellites out of their orbit with rockets and starting the first space war, it will be almost impossible to block via a firewall.
Instead, it is likely that they will ban devices capable of accessing the internet via those satellites – but all that will do is set up a thriving black market.
All the time, effort and money expended in massive country-level firewalls is about to go up in smoke…
I wonder if the powers-that-be are thinking about this or are being distracted by the race to launch more satellites than the US?
Originally published on January 20th 2020.
Update 05-06-2021: SpaceX has launched thousands of satellites already and Russia has made it clear that their citizens will pay a price if they use the service. It has started…