Amazon satellites and Project Kuiper: next steps in Big Tech space race
Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:
Amazon is to launch its first two internet satellites in 2022. Is Big Tech leading the new space race?
Well, yep. In many ways it is. Amazon is not only launching its CEO up there, but also satellites that would offer internet access for people all over the world, and that is a combination with infrastructure on the ground. This way, Amazon will try to open up more access and markets for its own services in developing countries that are yet untapped.
Is Amazon the only tech giant pushing the space frontier?
Well, not at all. Project Kuiper, which is named after the Dutch astronomer and planetary scientist Gerard Kuiper, is not the only corporate space adventure. Commercial space development is growing and companies will, on the one hand, see to control more of their own infrastructure and access, or they see commercial interests in providing such services to others. Elon Musk's SpaceX has 10 satellites as part of its Starlink telecom consolation, but we also see defense companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon launching commercial satellite service. The question that does rise, is what the consequences will be for the public interest and security considerations in this vast public sphere around the earth.