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IGF 2020 – Day 11 – WS326 The promises and perils of satellite internet

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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  >> PETER MICEK: Let's get this on the road.

    Eleanor, are we live?

   >> Eleanor: Yes. Livestreaming has already started.

   >> PETER MICEK: Okay. Thanks.

   >> Eleanor: You're welcome.

   >> PETER MICEK: Okay. Welcome, everyone, to the Internet Governance Forum 2020. I want to thank you for joining us here in this forum, just before the end of the big party. I want to thank the organizers of this ambitious virtual convening. I think this year we're really showing the power of the Internet and our dependence on it.

    We're happy to convene this panel on The Promises and Perils of Satellite Internet.

    We all use satellite services. They are essential to delivering location data, mapping your daily run and bike ride and predicting whether it will rain this weekend may depend on satellites already as well as the delivery of television and global news channels that we all depend on.

    Satellite imaging also tracks everything from deforestation migration to military invasion and seeing sites of atrocities. We saw Amnesty International did so last week in Ethiopia with their report based on satellite‑Internet pictures.

    Satellite‑based Internet services have been a dream since, at least, the 1990s. It's been too slow for mass uptake.

    So it has not helped bridge digital divides or expand connectivity to what is offline.

    The world will not reach the sustainable developmental goals subtarget 9C and connect all those in least‑developed countries to the Internet by 2020. We have about six weeks.

    However, we're now seeing the launch of thousands of small low‑Earth satellites with the intent of bringing faster Internet service to new places. The trend will continue as billionaires race to launch 50,000 new satellites this decade. It's time to take satellite‑Internet services more seriously and understand how they may impact human rights, peace and conflict, the environment and development.

    To do so, we have a diverse panel today with a wide range of experience.

    I think that satellite‑Internet providers and regulators alike should consider the counsel of this panel of diverse experts as you develop business and regulatory models.

    I will turn to Felicia Anthonio who is going to set the stage. She's going to tell us about the obstacles of connectivity from her perspective. Then we'll go to a presentation by Larry Press so we have a base of knowledge regarding what these services are.

    Felicia, what is keeping people offline and what is disrupting access in 2020?

   >> Felicia Anthonio: Thank you so much, Peter, for organizing this session. It's very timely and important given the situations in which we find ourselves today. 2020 has thrust this upon us, and one key thing you mentioned in your opening remarks is the fact that the importance of the Internet (?) And at the height, governments implemented lockdown measures to control the virus and to ensure people had access to life‑saving information as well as education and businesses all moved online.

    This wouldn't have been possible if we didn't have this important tool called the Internet and digital communication platforms.

    So, as the effects of COVID‑19 on our daily lives lengthens, governments' regional and international access continue to stress the importance of the Internet and there's a need to transfer safeguards to make sure more and more people are connected globally.

    Despite these efforts, we've seen that over 3.8 billion of the world's population are yet to get online. While many of those who are managing to get online struggle to stay connected due to expensive data plans, poor and slow service, and government‑funded Internet shutdowns.

    As you mentioned, we are far from reaching the goal ‑‑ the SDG subgoal nine that seeks to ensure that everyone is connected everywhere by 2020, since we have just six weeks to end the year.

    Then there's some more hope. As an enabler of other rights, including the rights of freedom of expression to access information, freedom of opinion and expression, the Internet must continue to be at the center stage of combatting this pandemic.

    And then, also, the importance of the Internet is further highlighted in SD17, which acknowledges that innovative technology development and reliable data (?) To reach the goals and (?) Will best serve people in developing countries who need it most.

    However, as I've indicated, as we all struggle to get everyone connected, some governments are actively hindering these efforts bier implementing repressive measures such as hacking surveillance and digital identity programs to draw back these efforts and further develop the divide across the globe.

    For instance, despite the impacts of ‑‑ devastating impacts on shutdowns on human rights, businesses, economies, the coalition ‑‑

      (Audio is distorted)

   >> Felicia Anthonio: ‑‑ Internet shutdowns are increasing across the globe. They're the lasting longer, and more and more people are being affected. They're used to target minority groups. 213 incidents were recorded in different countries.

    Recently, we've seen in this year that shutdowns that began in 2019 are still ongoing while governments in countries like Ethiopia, (?), and Belarus have shut down the Internet this year during elections or during protests.

    And so most of the justifications of the governments that have disrupted the communication devices are normally given as the need to ensure national security, but, in actual sense, shutdowns have implications on human rights and the other aspects of people's lives.

    Also, with the outbreak of the COVID‑19 pandemic, there's also been the introduction of contact tracing applications and data‑driven interventions to contain the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, some of these measures have increased surveillance on human rights and (?) Of people's personal data.

    Also, the lack of access disproportionately affects at‑risk and underserved communities such as women and people in racial and ethnic minority groups, rural and Indigenous populations, and people with disabilities.

    Although the global connectivity by the end of 2020 is very unlikely to be achieved, we can strive to get the world connected by 2030. To do so, we must amplify our efforts with innovation in order to achieve that.

    Governments must provide relevant infrastructure to ensure secure high‑quality and high‑speed connectivity, prioritize digital literary and improve structure in order to boost access.

    A human rights (?) Satellite Internet may be the missing piece. Internet service providers may play a key role in this plan and have their responsibility to support more people to get online by providing quality and uninterrupted services. And, most importantly, implementing human‑centric business models across the globe.

    Increasingly, we've seen that ISPs are becoming (?) Violating human rights of users as they continue to give into government demands to restrict these rights in countries where they operate.

    As we explore how satellite Internet service providers can contribute to get more people online, it is also essential for us to do so while ensuring that people have access to open, security, and quality Internet without further endangering their rights that we are fighting for.

    Let's make sure we do not recycle the very challenges we are currently having the ISPs, providing Internet connections to fiber optic and cable services, and it is crucial to advance are this while upholding and expanding human rights in the digital age.

    It is my hope that the co‑panelists and experts in this sector will be able to throw more light on this subject and convince civil society that satellite services could contribute significantly to bring more people online in safe and effective manner because one thing is certain. What we do today to ensure an open and accessible Internet, including the proliferation of satellite services, will contribute to a digital tomorrow where connectivity won't be a discussion topic. It will be a guarantee.

    So I'm hoping to see how we delve into this conversation in how satellites can connect more and more people and even possibly helping people that find themselves in countries where the Internet is being disrupted, how it's enabled them during the disruptions.

    Thank you.

   >> PETER MICEK: Thank you so much, Felicia. I think you really laid out the gauntlet there for what we expect.

    We have questions coming up in the chat. I think it's time to throw the presentation to Larry Press regarding where things are going.

    Please share.

   >> LARRY PRESS: Okeydokey.

   >> PETER MICEK: Larry is professor emeritus at California State University, Dominguez Hills.

   >> LARRY PRESS: Can you guys see the slides?

   >> PETER MICEK: Yes.

   >> LARRY PRESS: Okay. Yeah. I'm just going to give a really quick overview of the whole field, what's going on with these low‑Earth orbit satellites, LEO, as far as the Internet goes. I will run really fast through this. We can come back to it in the discussion. If anybody wants, I have an annotated version of this presentation which I can just send you. You can send my email there. Just request it.

    Okeydokey. These are the five topics. I'm doing five slides, five topics.

    Orbit characteristics is the first one. We'll end up talking about the role of the U.N. at the end.

    Okay. So what are these low‑Earth orbiting satellites? What you're used to today, if you have Internet connectivity with a satellite is what is shown down here, geostationary satellite. Geostationary satellite has some problems, and it has some advantages.

    As you can see, the altitude of a geostationary is 22,000 miles whereas these lower satellites are often well under 1,200 miles. There's some good news and bad news with that. The big advantages is that the orbit time, the time it takes to go around the Earth is 24 hours. What that means is the satellite appears to be fixed in the sky from any point on Earth. That's got two really nice advantages. It means that there's a large footprint for the satellite. It can see a big portion of the Earth at any one time. Another one is that the terminal is simple. $50 terminal can be bolted to your roof or pole once, and it never has to move. That's the good news.

    The bad news is this column here, latency. It's slow. To get a packet of data from Earth up to the satellite or from the satellite back down to Earth takes about a quarter of a second. That's difficult for some applications.

    Low‑Earth orbit satellites, that's what we're talking about today, their latency is only maybe 20, 25 milliseconds. The orbital time is two hours, and so forth.

    The key thing about this latency is that that makes it possible to do interactive applications, the kind of thing we're doing now. If we were trying to do a Zoom conference and I was on a geostationary satellite, the performance would be patchy. It wouldn't be smooth and fluid, the way this is. Even things like web surfing are interactive. It turns out when you get a web page, it's not just one transition but many, many transactions back and forth between the client and the server to get the data and video and whatnot. That's nice.

    The bad news is the footprint is small. The big one is the orbit time is two hours, depending on exactly how high it is. That means the satellite, from a given point on Earth, will be visible and then move over the horizon and disappear.

    It has to be visible and in a fraction, switch from one satellite to another when it disappears.

    So here is kind of what's happening today in LEO satellites, with a little bit of historical context. Just to throw this in, the whole idea of using satellites for communication was invented in 1945 by a science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke. Maybe you've seen some of his movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey. He came up with the idea that a geostationary satellite could be used for communication just after the war.

    In the early 1990s, early 2000s, Teledesic tried to do a low‑Earth orbit satellite constellation. You can kind of see this animation here. It didn't work. They only planned to do 840 satellites, but by 2002, they were broke. They had big money behind them: Bill Gates, a Saudi prince, and a mobile phone entrepreneur.

    A lot of times, people say, Oh, this didn't work for Teledesic. Maybe it won't work today.

    You can guess the rocket technology, the electronics technology, and, more importantly, the market is very different today than it was in the 1990s.

    So today, the industry, they're kind of half a dozen or so players that are actively trying to do LEO satellite constellations. Let me say a quick word about each one. SpaceX is probably the best known. Elon Musk is a well‑known guy, the head of SpaceX. They have a big lead right now this technology. They're the only company that can reuse the rockets that they use to launch satellites. They have big rockets. They can launch a lot of satellites. They're really effective at the manufacturer satellites. And they are the only one of these companies that's serving anybody now. They call it a beta test, but they are offering service in the northern United States and have plans to expand soon to the southern Canada and, following that, will be Germany and the rest of the world.

    So they have a big lead, but it's not all over. OneWeb is a company that, like SpaceX, wants to go after the end user as well as other markets. They went bankrupt about a year ago. They reorganized and have come out of bankruptcy. They're now owned primarily by the UK government and by a large Indian Internet service provider that has clients in parts of Asia and Africa as well. They're well‑positioned in that sense in that they have good in‑roads into the market.

    They are also the only other one that has launched what will be production satellites.

    Telesat is a Canadian company. They're not going to focus it first on the home user. They're going to focus on things like mobile back call and enterprise and larger customers, Wi‑Fi hotspots in communities.

    They have a nice advantage in that they are a project of a company that has a very large geostationary satellite business right now. They've recently got funding from the Canadian government to help them provide rural connectivity in Canada.

    The next, Hongyun and (?) ‑‑ I'm not sure if I'm pronouncing it right. They're Chinese. They're late to the party, but they have all the resources and technical resources of the Chinese government behind them. The real political advantage is that the world is kind of bifurcating a little bit. The splinternet. They're trying to expand rapidly around the world.

    Last but not least, Kuiper. It's funded by Jeff Bezos. He's committed to put up 10 billion there are to make it work. He, again, not only do they have money, but they have the advantage of being able to have access to Amazon's ground infrastructure and all their data centers and data services. So even though SpaceX is way ahead today, I think it's safe to say that if this works out, these are the very early days, and there will be room for all of these.

    Moving on, just say real quickly something about the potential markets. The one that I think we're focusing on maybe today, which gets the most kind of press is homes, individual users, maybe a small business, people that just have an end‑user terminal.

    There are other markets that are less price sensitive and that all these companies are very much thinking of connecting ships at sea, putting down Wi‑Fi hotspots in rural areas, connecting to airplanes as they're flying, connecting mobile phone stations out in rural areas, connecting enterprises. You know, sometimes really fast connectivity, community centers, government, and so on. It goes on and on.

    The picture here is a Microsoft mobile data center. What that is something that can be put on the back of a truck and just plunked down anywhere, and as long as they can get power to it, the reason that it kind of fits into this satellite picture is that SpaceX just did a deal with Microsoft where they are going to be providing Internet connectivity to Microsoft's Azure network into portable ground stations like this. So they will be able to set up a data center anywhere in very short order.

    Challenges, okay. This thing is not a slam dunk. Elon Musk even says his goal is to not go bankrupt.

    The first one I put there is the most interesting, maybe. Finding the most viable business model. Because the fixed costs are so high for an Internet constellation and the cost of signing up and serving a customer is very low, I think it's going to turn out that there are a lot of unknowns, but I think almost for sure there will be variable prices in different regions. That is good news. That says, in essence, the more affluent countries are going to pay more. This is going to be good for ‑‑ or there's attempt to heal the digital divide.

    Going down the list of technical factors ‑‑ excuse me. I have a frog in my throat. One factor ‑‑ one technical thing that has to be overcome is the cost of the user terminals. Remember, I said they're really complex. They have to be in constant motion and constantly switch. SpaceX, in their initial beta tests, are charging 500 bucks for the terminal, but they're losing money doing that. The cost of bringing ‑‑ the low‑cost terminals are a technical barrier that has to be overcome.

    I think it will be with mass production and improved technology. Right now, the second one, satellite, communication links, right now, the satellites cannot communicate amongst themselves. SpaceX is definitely committed to developing ‑‑ to adding that feature to their future satellites. That will have a really nice effect. It will both lower latency. It will lower the need for ground station for terrestrial infrastructure.

    So I think that's technical. I think it will be overcome. The reflected light mitigation has to do with astronomers complaining about the light getting in the way. That is being dealt with the astronomy community.

    How do you keep it from interfering with satellites above and below it? Again, there's a political aspect of it. The IGU is very much, you know, in the center of that, but it's a technical problem.

    Avoiding collisions is a technical problem and a little bit political. That's why I put it at the end. People have to track these satellites and predict where their orbits are going to go. If it looks like there's a confluence, a collision, possibly coming up, you have to have communications between the operators. You don't want one to do a maneuver that raises their satellite and another one that's in danger also raising their satellite at the same time. So that requires data sharing, and it requires collaboration in the mitigation and planning maneuvers to avoid collisions. That gets exacerbated by the fact that not only are we talking about these commercial applications, but governments are doing military applications, and they don't like to talk about the status, the orbits of their satellites.

    All of that leads to the political things. I just quickly listed three. I think we heard a bunch in the previous talk, worrying about security and autocratic uses such as surveillance of people and censorship and whatnot.

    The Chinese and American ‑‑ or western‑global influence battle that's going on right now is definitely a political problem. I think maybe, who knows with the Biden Administration, it will ease up a will believe. And then there may also be resistance of competition.

    Okey doke.

    The final slide I have is kind of self‑evident from the other. There has to be a role by the U.N. These satellites, these constellations are global infrastructure. They're not belonging to any nation and certainly not to any private company like Amazon or SpaceX.

    You just saw there are half a dozen efforts to do LEO satellites. If you go a bit further and look at space in general, there are 68 nations that launch or own or operate satellites. These LEO broadband satellites are from the U.S., Canada. OneWeb is UK and India. Then a couple from China. Though, I think China, those two may be merged into one, but right now they are two.

    So we need global collaboration. We need laws, standards, regulation. I don't know. We've managed to pull it off on the high seas. Hopefully, we'll pull it off in space as well.

    And that's what I have.

   >> PETER MICEK: Thank you so much, Larry. Yeah, as you said, you will make that presentation, those slides available, which is great. That's your email address.

   >> LARRY PRESS: The slides are annotated. They have a lot of notes underneath. It's not just the pictures.

   >> PETER MICEK: Slides and more. That's fantastic. I think we all learned a lot more. There's of which, if governments have a fairly limited role right now, they certainly have a number in of vested interests across the security, political, and commercial realms.

    For that reason, I think it's appropriate that we go next to Jennifer Stein from the U.S. State Department. She's Special Advisor for Internet Freedom and Business and Human Rights in the Bureau of Democracy of Human Rights at the Department of Labor.

    Can you tell us about the work you're doing around the security and privacy aspects of the Internet service and how it relates to this sector.

   >> JENNIFER STEIN: Thank you so much. Thanks for the invitation to speak. While I don't pretend to be an expert, I recognize that there are possible links to surveillance capabilities associated with the technology. So here I'm going to talk a little bit about that.

    I want to highlight the possibilities and invite you to think about human rights due diligence opportunities and challenges regarding government use and safeguards.

    As we might be aware, the State Department released guide to ensure companies that their technology and services with surveillance capabilities are not used to violate or abuse human rights by government actors.

    The guidance document has been a culmination of a two‑year project that has both involved civil society and industry colleagues. Too often we find that technologies with surveillance capabilities are misused by foreign governments to (?); harass human rights defenders; intimidate minority communities; discourage whistleblowers; kill free speech; target political, opponents, journalists, and lawyers; or, also, to interfere arbitrarily or unlawfully with privacy.

      (Audio is distorted)

   >> JENNIFER STEIN: We released the guidance document in an effort to help businesses concerned about their products or services being used. The guidance itself outlines a series of due diligence measures in line with the principles of guarding human rights and the OCED guidelines that products (?) Misused by governments to violate human rights. The guidance familiarizes business with human rights terminology, and then it offers them a greater understanding of the human rights concerns the U.S. Government may have with certain transactions.

    The guidance also helps businesses conduct a human rights impact assessment on relevant products or services and then provides businesses with a series of considerations they should weigh prior to engaging in transactions with foreign governments.

    In terms of applications of this guidance to satellite‑delivered Internet, the definition section of the guidance document makes clear that this technology fits within the purview of the document. I might add that this document is publicly available. I'm happy to share the link to the document in the chat function at the end of my presentation.

    The document defines products or services with surveillance capabilities as those that can be marketed for or used with or without the authorization of the business to detect, monitor, intercept, collect, exploit, preserve, and/or to retain sensitive data regarding information or communication concerning individuals or groups. The definition also includes examples of products covered by the guidance.

    So one such category of product is non‑cooperative location tracking. So that is clearly a primary capability of satellite‑delivered Internet.

      (Audio is distorted)

   >> JENNIFER STEIN: So, as satellite‑delivered Internet falls within the scope of the guidance, providers should heed its due diligence recommendations. I've outlined a couple of them. This would include undertaking a human rights impact assessment of satellite Internet as a technology. As noted, end user is inherently locatable in satellite's communication.

    This is an important risk in oppressive countries that have the political will and ability to search out users for violating censorship laws, for example.

      (Audio interference)

   >> JENNIFER STEIN: Satellite‑delivered Internet companies will also need to do in‑depth due diligence on local laws, regulations, and implicate surveillance, including those involving data requests, of course. This will be particularly relevant important as the world transitions from expensive and rare satellite Internet to rare and ubiquitous Internet. Providers will need to put in place appropriate human rights safeguards to protect.

    There are a few safeguards that stand out as especially relevant. This includes building human rights considerations into any contractual agreements with governments and put in place a sound grievance mechanism and develop robust reporting, including transparency under a data requests.

    Assuming we have good time at tend, I'm also curious hear from participants in today's session what might be implemented (?) Could these companies come up with design features to (?) In location tracking or could they provide for data minimizations, protect against data requests? Just a few ideas. I will leave my comments here, but I'm more than happy to put these out for guidance and open for discussion.

   >> PETER MICEK: Continue using the chat. There's great questions about encryption and how traffic might work over connections where bandwidth may be limited and many other great questions there.

    Let's get to some of our last folks who will give remarks. I want to throw to Félix Blanc from Internet Sans Frontieres quickly to bring his perspective and some of the work he's done around submarine cable deployments and ways to protect human rights and safeguard the public interest that might be applicable, as Jenny said, to this sector.

   >> FÉLIX BLANC: Thank you, Peter. Thank you for this invitation.

    I'm working on cables for years now. Of course, the question is always will the satellites at some point overcome in some ways ‑‑ or come back ‑‑ and it's especially interesting because I work on a cable link between Europe and Latin America, and this cable was designed for (?) Observations and to enable the (?) In Europe to connect with the astronomic observatory in Chile.

    Part of the capacity, which is 72 terabits will be (?) To academic research next year. It's a very important milestone in the history of submarine cable.

    Ironically, when I look at all of these new adventures in space, I'm looking back to the submarine cables, they're important to astronomers and project a rise, a big, big, big ‑‑ like a prize result for astronomers. For an observatory, it's problematic. You will find a statement by International Astronomy Union about that.

    I will give (?) To compare cables and satellite. In terms of regulation, it's similar. You have the U.N. ‑‑ International Convention on the Law of the Seas. For the marine cable, it's the basis on which (?) Is possible. It's the same with satellites, and the problem is that the U.S., for instance, we say that we cannot consider space as a (?) Because it's open for profit. If one (?) Is out, will your future government cooperate for new treaties from these low‑Earth orbit constellations.

    The submarine cables are okay. If it's limited in terms of environment impact, but you have the possible debris in space. It's one of the major issues in case of accident, we cannot access the (?) To put new objects. Potentially, it's highly problematic.

    In terms of costs, I find the figures that it's 48 billion since 1990, for the submarine cables, all cables, and now invested for only this year and next year is 7 billion and you have 10 billion for the standing projects only, not the others.

    The question is what will be the total amounts of investments? So it's more of a question for the next few years. In terms of latency, there's a lot of investment because in the same ways as in the 19th century between London and Paris, you have (?) With the first telegraph. (?) It's supposed to be layered with laser beam and all the devices working from one point, for instance, let's say joining London, it's quicker with satellite than with submarine cables.

    There's a lot of if. If all works correctly, technically, it will be quicker than (?) But in terms of capacity for the digital divide, will it be enough to cover all of the needs in terms of connectivity on data? Submarine cable in terabits, like (?) Facebook the question is would it be the same with the satellites? I have no ‑‑ in terms of said control, of course, as you know, Snowden revelation and other things, the submarine cables were used for surveillance in the past and still are.

    We can have hope to have direct connectivity to (?) States in some case, but the problem is with mass projects. There's a lot of community networks or other projects that could use the space for their own project, for instance, and the question is: Will it be open for those kind of projects, given only five or six states can launch?

    So that was my concluding remark. Of course, we have a lot of hope in that there are already projects with satellites (?) Censorship, but the question is given that would the concentrated (?) Submarine cables, is it possible to use space as a freedom launcher?

   >> PETER MICEK: Thank you, Félix. I love space as a freedom launcher.

    There are tough questions there that are in the chat.

    You raised circumvention. Getting back to Felicia's introduction about these intentional disruptions of connectivity and whether satellite might provide a way around that sort of blocking.

    So we do have a practitioner. Last but not least, Ahmad Ahmadian runs the service that effectively delivers access to information via satellite.

    Ahmad, can you tell us about your service and what you're hearing?

   >> AHMAD AHMADIAN: Definitely. Thank you for organizing this webinar.

    As mentioned, the topic is satellite. One of the main issues is access to information, right, around the globe. There are places that they do not have access to Internet due to the government control or lack of connectivity or broadband infrastructure. So NetFreedom Pioneers, I try to keep it short so we have time for Q&A. I see a lot of great questions to be answered.

    At NetFreedom Pioneers, we realize after the government took more control of the Internet inside Iran by establishing, you know, national infrastructure, to have more control over Internet, and, in some instances, blocking access or websites or, you know, last year, right now, it's the anniversary of one of the longest Internet shutdowns, 10‑day shutdown, inside of Iran.

    This is based on satellite, which has great advantages. One is the geostationary satellites, they can broadcast to anyone in the world without asking for permission from the governments. Of course, there are some complexities to that, but if I could get to the core technology we developed, I do have this presentation, if everyone can see it.

    So, as you can see in this technology, we basically utilize the satellites, the TV signals, that could be broadcasted or any digital transfer. We bundle with activists and publishers who is content is blocked in countries, this amounts to four to six gigabytes of content. We convert it to video stream. Once the content is embedded, that enables us to tap into infrastructures like (?) And in case of Iran satellite, we can broadcast it into TV screens at home.

    People on their end can record the channel as if they are recording their favorite show to watch it later. Then they use their software, a very small software on Android devices or laptops. Anything you can store on your computer, you can embed it in your video screen, and people can record it.

    The benefit of the satellite is it's accessible by everyone. Conclude not be censored. Of course, the governments are utilizing some jamming techniques to jam the signal and interfere with the broadcasting, but, still, we've been able to have this built‑in data and recovery mechanism that recovers lost files.

    Our coverage is over Iran. The main audience in Iran. The coverage extends to east Asia. Many people, especially in developing countries, they use satellite to watch TV. They are able to tune into this channel and get files without having access to Internet structure. In remote areas, they can get the files.

    In case of refugee conferences, emergency responses, and bypassing censorship in remote areas. Data casting is becoming one solution to bridge the digital divide during the pandemic. They're utilizing the casting over DTT or satellite broadcasting, but, yeah, we are looking forward to seeing the expansion of LEOs, satellite Internet, all around the world.

    Hopefully, you know, that's going to be a freedom launch for us for the global connectivity, and no one can interfere, but it poses a lot of risks having the sudden accessibility to the content and fast expansion. One is misinformation. Groups like Access Now, ourselves, we're working to bring literature literacies and Internet space, but this poses a lot of risk, like the social expansions that pose risk, and the international governance didn't exist to have some compliances in place and mitigate this risk.

    Civil society has a role to gear up for the fast expansion of the Internet in those areas and pushing the private companies, actually, to follow some human rights compliances and not regulate based on the developed countries like Iran or China and provide Internet access to those people.

   >> PETER MICEK: Thank you so much.

    It's interesting to have this while we acknowledge that a lot of lessons have been learned from the rollout of new platforms and services bringing a lot more people online.

    I do, again, want to underscore Jenny's request of everyone to really think about how due diligence, human rights due diligence, environmental studies can impact all of these adverse effects.

    Great.

    Do any of the panelists have questions for each other? I would like to leave that open as we kind of reflect on what's being raised by the attendees.

   >> AHMAD AHMADIAN: I would like to pose a question to Larry.

    One of the channels we had in our video broadcasting was jamming, right, satellite jamming. Although, it's a violation of international laws, especially the ones of Cubans. They target the satellite in space. I wonder if it also applies to LEOs, and can the governments interfere with those Internet service operations by some similar techniques? Is it a violation of international laws or they can justify it by their sovereignty laws?

   >> LARRY PRESS: Okay. Excuse me. I think the answer to that is that I don't know but I doubt whether SpaceX, for example, is going to get permission to broadcast ‑‑ not broadcast but to neuro cast to antennas and users in, let's say, Cuba. So what's going to happen there is, if Cuba is willing to accept them as a service provider, or Iran, is they will say, Okay. Anything that you have ‑‑ any traffic you have talking to people in our country, it has to go through a national gateway and be distributed terrestrially through our control.

    I think the only thing that may be close to that is if you could sneak an end‑user terminal to a place near the border. Maybe you could have somebody on the other side of the border in a free nation, so to speak, maybe do a point‑to‑point to that one person.

    I can't imagine any of those countries are going to serve a country that won't let them serve ‑‑ that wants them to go through a gateway.

    That very much happened. OneWeb had a deal for distribution. They were pretty tight, before they went bankrupt in Russia. Then Russia changed their mind. They really wanted everything to go through a gateway. They say it's for national security purposes, but maybe not.

   >> PETER MICEK: Thanks. I think you referred to the commercial interest of the existing telecom Companies.

   >> LARRY PRESS: That happened. I think it was probably part of the OneWeb kerfuffle.

   >> PETER MICEK: Any questions between panelists?

   >> JENNIFER STEIN: Can I ask a question. I think I had posed this question, and I would just be interested in anyone ‑‑ maybe Larry or any others ‑‑ just thinking about the technology, are there human rights states that we can think of now in terms of encouraging satellite‑Internet companies to start to think about? I know I mentioned contractual safeguards, but are there other features we could think about encouraging?

   >> LARRY PRESS: Email encryption, that's something that works.

    You know, I was listening to your thing and trying to think if there are any essential differences in the context you're raising between cable or satellite, and I kind of ‑‑ my first thought is maybe not.

    I think you said that the satellite operator knows the physical location of the antenna it's talking to. But, in order for the government to find out that physical location, the satellite operator has to cooperate with them. That's the same thing, you know, if somebody wants to know, you know, where a certain IP address was. The service provider has to cooperate. Maybe I'm wrong, but at first brush, it seems like getting SpaceX to reveal information is the same as getting AT&T to reveal information or are available company.

    In the United States, it takes a court order. I'm not sure. Can anybody else think of ‑‑ why am I being shortsighted?

   >> PETER MICEK: That's a great general question. I don't think we can answer that. Yeah, so that's a good point. We still may recreate a situation where a rather limited number of companies operating with a limited number of countries are in control of a lot of data around the world.

   >> LARRY PRESS: Yeah.

   >> PETER MICEK: So we have questions in the chat around Outer Space Treaty, around who is responsible for all this junk that's being put up. Is it the ITU or does the ITU just cooperate and put the responsibility on the launchers?

   >> LARRY PRESS: Okay. I will say something about that. That is a big problem. When I went through my little issues or something, that was kind of the biggest one, I think. It's both technical and political.

    For example, who is tracking these things and trying to avoid collisions? Yes, the United States government does that. They pretty much open in cooperating with others, though I am not at all clear that they are willing to include in the data sharing and whatnot that goes on, military satellites and that kind of thing. I don't know.

    But, yeah, the U.S. Government, for example, tracks right now ‑‑ it just got improved, but objects that are in orbit down to 10 centimeters for a long time and just recently went on to smaller things.

    That being said, I know of there's two companies ‑‑ two commercial companies, one that is already operations and one that is start‑up mode which will be providing similar services as the United States, private companies.

    The one that's already operating is the ‑‑ I don't know, template.

   >> PETER MICEK: I think we have to wrap here, unfortunately.

   >> LARRY PRESS: Okay. The bottom line is a couple of private companies are coming online. The U.S. Government is doing something about it, but it doesn't work if everybody doesn't cooperate. The Chinese have to cooperate with the Americans, for example.

   >> PETER MICEK: That's a great note.

    I want to leave one last minute if any of the panelists wanted to offer voluntary commitments to further the goals of the IGF and specific to this session. Does anyone have any commitments that I wanted to make to put on the record or put charges to others.

   >> LARRY PRESS: I'm willing to help. What do you need?

   >> PETER MICEK: Great. That's an offer of cooperation.

    For Access Now, Felicia probably plans to continue watching the sector and how it may impact humanitarian rights.

    Anyone else? Can we get a head nod from the panelists?

    Things, everyone, for joining. I learned a ton. There's a lot of questions in the chat about the political and the policy. That's what we see coming into the sector, and that's why we need the cooperation, I think, that Larry charged us with.

    So I want to thank all the attendees for coming and thank Ahmad, Felicia, Larry, Félix, and Eleanor at the IGF staff for putting this on.

   >> LARRY PRESS: Thank you for organizing it.

 

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