Elon Musk’s Starlink is aiding criminal mining efforts in Brazil’s Amazon

  • Starlink kits are being used for illegal mining efforts in Brazil, according to the Associated Press.
  • As Internet systems have spread, so have reports of Starlink being used for unintended purposes.

When Elon Musk launched SpaceX’s satellite internet service, Starlink, in 2020, he envisioned connecting people and businesses around the world — especially those in remote areas.

In Brazil, Starlink Internet terminals have done just that. But, according to an investigation by The Associated Press, some of those terminals are aiding illegal mining efforts in parts of the Amazon, where such activities have contaminated waterways and spread disease and famine.

Elon Musk’s Starlink is aiding criminal mining efforts in Brazil’s Amazon

Brazil’s environmental agency Ibama told the AP that in the past five weeks, seven Starlink terminals were found and seized at illegal mining sites in Yanomami lands, Brazil’s largest indigenous region.

“This technology is extremely fast and really improves the ability to manage an illegal mine,” Hugo Los, operations coordinator for Brazil’s environment agency, told the AP. “You can manage hundreds of mining sites without ever stepping into one.”

Before Starlink’s internet service, illegal miners relied on bulky, stationary antennae, but the internet connection was often unreliable, according to the AP. The AP reported that when miners relocate sites or flee raids, they often have to leave internet equipment behind.

The AP reported that illegal miners now use Starlink terminals for logistics, payments, and planning law enforcement raids.

Brazil was first to get Starlink’s high-speed internet in 2022. That year, Elon Musk tweeted his enthusiasm about launching Starlink to connect 19,000 schools in rural areas of Brazil.

Starlink did not respond to a request for comment from Insider, nor did it respond to a series of questions from the AP.

As Starlink has expanded, reports have emerged about its terminals being used for unintended purposes, including the war in Ukraine.

By June of last year, Elon Musk had sent 15,000 Starlink kits to Ukraine, reconnecting parts of the war-torn country where internet service had been lost. In January, Musk tweeted how Starlink was not allowed to be used for long-range drone strikes in Ukraine’s war effort.

A few days later, at a Federal Aviation Administration conference in Washington DC, SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell said that the company was working to limit Ukraine’s use of Starlink in offensive military operations, as the country used Starlink “in ways that which were unintentional and were not part of any agreement.”

As Musk’s Starlink service becomes more and more widespread, cases of abuse are to be expected.

Last year the service expanded to all seven continents. By the end of 2022, the number of users worldwide has exceeded one million – from 145,000 users at the beginning of the year.


“Elon Musk’s Starlink is aiding criminal mining efforts in Brazil’s Amazon”

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Information Source:- https://www.businessinsider.in/tech/news/elon-musks-starlink-is-aiding-criminal-mining-efforts-in-brazils-amazon/articleshow/98741207.cms

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