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  • ton = $7.31 -0.01 (-0.15 %)

13 Apr, 2023
1 min time to read

Brazilian environmental officials reportedly discovered "one Starlink terminal up and running" next to an illegal mining pit in an area called Ouro Mill during a recent raid.

This is not the first time a Starlink terminal has been discovered in such a raid, with the Brazilian environment agency Ibama recovering seven such terminals in the past five weeks alone.

Illegal mining in Brazil has been a long-standing problem for the government, with such operations having traditionally relied on satellite internet to carry out their work. However, previous satellite internet systems were cumbersome and required technicians to be flown in and out.

Starlink, on the other hand, is a much more seamless alternative, offering criminal rings a number of essential services, including administrative and logistical coordination, as well as advanced warning of law enforcement raids.

While it's not Musk's fault that Starlink has been adopted by Brazilian criminal organizations, the report highlights the effectiveness of the service for their operations. Interestingly, the Associated Press report notes that Starlink is widely available for Brazilian criminals but was recently throttled by the company in Ukraine.

Starlink's fast speed and ability to manage hundreds of mining sites without ever setting foot in one make it an ideal tool for illegal mining, according to Hugo Loss, operations coordinator for Ibama.

The use of Starlink by illegal miners is a troubling development and raises questions about the responsibility of technology providers for how their products are used. When Starlink was first launched in Brazil in May 2022, it was marketed in part as a helpful aid to those working to protect the Amazon, rather than those engaging in illegal activities that harm the rainforest.