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IPFS News Link • Surveillance

SpaceX Prepares to Comply With 'Lawful Intercepts' for Cellular Starlink System

•, By Michael Kan

Initially, the cellular Starlink service will only support text messages. But sometime next year, the technology will power voice calls and internet data, making it closer to a full-fledged cellular provider. 

SpaceX's effort to follow lawful wiretapping laws isn't a surprise, considering the regular Starlink service also complies with "lawful government requests," per the company's privacy policy. Still, the job post offers a glimpse into how SpaceX plans on handling such requests. 

As SpaceX develops a cellular Starlink service for phones, It's also preparing to comply with regulations that'll require the company to surveil specific users due to government requests. 

A recent job notice notes that the company is looking to hire a "lawful intercept engineer" for network compliance to work from SpaceX's offices in Redmond, Washington.  

"This position entails planning, provisioning, and managing software that is used to meet regulatory requirements for lawful intercept, content filtering and data requests for our Starlink and Direct-To-Cell products," the job notice says. 

"You will engage with other SpaceX engineers as well as our Legal and Market Access teams to understand the best solution for each country in our quest to connect the globe," the job post notes. In addition, the same engineer will need to test the technology with "various law enforcement agencies around the world" while also "training the Network Operations Team in the day-to-day operations of these systems."

SpaceX is partnering with T-Mobile to serve Starlink users in cellular dead zones. If no cell tower on the ground is available, T-Mobile phones will be able to connect with orbiting Starlink satellites flying above.