We know why Israel is upset with Elon Musk for sending Starlink services to Palestine, but now Iran is also demanding that he remove the satellites. Truth is always the first casualty in war. Governments are censoring absolutely everything to prevent the truth from spreading. Iranian journalism is non-existent and people rely on social media to receive their information through the use of VPNs. Iran has previously shutdown internet access for its own people and disabled VPN servers to prevent people from seeking the truth.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) believes the Islamic Republic “enslaved Iran’s internet.” “The Islamic Republic’s strategy is cruel – locking its people into an empty information space and blocking all escape routes,” said Vincent Berthier, the head of RSF’s Tech Desk. “Internet shutdowns form the main barrier to information, and when the network comes back online, the government obstructs access in another way, by preventing access to VPNs. We call on the Iranian authorities to lift these oppressive constraints. Iranians have the right to access news and information freely.”
Iran has blocked the Apple App Store and Google Play to deter people from downloading a VPN to bypass censorship. WhatsApp and Signal have been blocked as they do not allow people to communicate. Internet shutdowns often occur regionally as the Iranian government will simply revoke all internet communications at whim. A company called Arvan Cloud has assisted Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry in developing the National Information Network (NIN) to block the people from free communication. Ironically, the US placed sanctions on the company in June 2023. The US government prefers to discreetly block information rather than turning off the internet entirely.
Now in comes Elon Musk. He recently said he plans to make X (formerly Twitter) an all-purpose app that allows calls and messaging. He is permitting everyone to post to his social media channel and it has become the top spot for government officials to send the public instant alerts. His Starlink technology will ensure that people can access X and the internet. Starlink satellites operate at an altitude of 340 miles and would be extremely costly to shoot down and only a few countries have anti-satellite technology. It’s also not like Musk is sending one satellite as they launch a stack of them at once.
There is a reason Putin did not attempt to shoot down Starlink over Ukraine. First of all, it is extremely costly and a waste of resources. Secondly, these devices are technically American assets and attempting to remove them could be seen as an act of war. Third, they could not shoot these down without causing orbital debris and angering the international community. Russia or China could spend countless resources on anti-satellite technology, but Musk could simply send more. The only way to close them would be to attack the ground station, a move that could only be done by the West.