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Technology 19 April 2021

The Week in Internet News: Starlink Plans Broad Rollout

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Internet from space: StarLink, the satellite-based Internet service from Elon Musk’s SpaceX, may exit its beta release around the middle of this year, Teslarati reports. Musk says the service is rapidly improving “service uptime, bandwidth, and latency.” Starlink should be broadly available later this year, with service also available for vehicles.

A ban for all seasons: Meanwhile, some U.S. lawmakers are calling for broader bans on Chinese tech and exports to China, the South China Morning Post reports. Two Republican lawmakers have recently called for restrictions on exports of chip-design software to China. The two lawmakers proposed that all U.S. makers of electronic design automation tools be required to obtain a government license before exporting to China in an effort to restrict the country’s ability to design advanced chips.

Not so open: NPR has a story about the U.S. government’s Open Technology Fund, under former President Donald Trump, pushing to subsidize closed source privacy software called Ultrasurf, developed by the Falun Gong religious group. People with close ties to Falun Gong own The Epoch Times, which promoted pro-Trump conspiracy theories in its pages and in videos posted online. After Ultrasurf was approved for funding, four people made use of the software.

The U.K. vs. encryption: The U.K. government is stepping up its pressure on Facebook for the social media giant to scrap plans to offer end-to-end encryption on its messaging services, CPO Magazine reports. The U.K. Home Office plans to call for increased regulation of encryption, saying that encryption aids criminals such as child predators.

Protect encryption, protect our data, and protect each other.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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