Starlink Satellite Network and 5G Technology
Before detailing 5G technology and its features, explaining what this abbreviation means and the development process will enable us to understand 5G more easily. While the infrastructure of telecommunication technology has changed and changed over the years, all this development has been named as a new generation. 1G technologies, which started service in 1982, and 2G technologies that became commercial in 1992, are systems that enable voice communication. While 1G systems are based on analog wireless technology, wireless communication in 2G systems has now moved to digital foundations. Also, 3G systems were put into service in 2001 and started to support data and video transmission. On the other hand, 4G technologies and end-to-end IP method introduced in 2012; turned voice, data, and image transmission into mobile internet technology. Nowadays, studies on 5G technologies are carried out and new systems are planned to be 5G-based.  At this point, the letter “G” corresponds to the English word “Generation” and means generation in Turkish, so 5G can be described as the fifth generation.
Accordingly, what kind of innovation will 5G bring to the field of telecommunications? First of all, it should be stated that 5G technology was first tested in the world in November 2016. Although the feature of downloading and sharing fast content, in general, comes to the fore, it seems that the innovations that 5G technology will bring will be far beyond these. Broadband, high speed and intensive use capacity of 5G will also contribute greatly to the development of the Internet of Things (“IoT“) technologies. It is stated that there will be great developments in autonomous cars and robotic surgery technologies. At this point, first of all, it has been explained at various times by many big companies that the use of autonomous vehicles will not be fully possible until 5G technology is completely established. The main reason is that 4G technology cannot meet today’s demand and, to give a simple example, the situation that people in the earthquake area cannot be searched when there is an earthquake. If a similar communication disruption occurs in autonomous vehicles, the damage that may occur will increase exponentially with the prevalence rate of autonomous vehicles.
It is a known fact that our country has already started scientific studies for the formation of technological standards in this direction and that infrastructure studies are made, so to speak, groundbreaking ceremonies. Private companies in our country, on the other hand, design products that are compatible with 5G technology and continue their studies that will bring great distance to our country in terms of technology production.
In this context, it is possible to say that 5G will meet much greater demand and that it is a candidate to close a technological era and start a new one, as well as solving many technological problems. The economic value to be created by 5G is also quite high, it is estimated that it will provide a source of 12.3 Trillion USD earnings. The difference that we, the end-users, will feel most clearly is that the data can be downloaded in 1 second by waiting for about 2 minutes at the moment, and even so, the delay in the phone sound and video broadcasting will be minimal.
It should be noted that; 5G is actively used in many countries of Europe, especially in America and Asia. Although it was actively used in the United States for the first time in the world. It has found itself much more coverage in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea. In the European continent, it is actively used in England, Switzerland, and Spain. 5G of history will come to Turkey seem so far away. In 2018, within the scope of the TÜBİTAK project, 5G base station works were initiated with Aselsan and Turkcell, and the process was accelerated with the End-to-End Domestic National 5G (“UUYM5G“) project, also supported by TÜBİTAK. After the UUYM5G project, with the launch of the TÜBİTAK 5G Industry Innovation Network Mechanism project in 2021, field tests are expected in mid-2021. According to estimates, it is reported that we can use 5G at the beginning of 2022.
In addition to the high quality of life that 5G will bring to our lives, it will also bring some problems in terms of protecting personal data. Most of the cyberattacks with 4G technology were carried out with classical methods such as ransomware and DDoS attacks. However, the bandwidth and high internet speed that 5G will bring along an increase in connected devices, especially IoT-based devices. Moreover, as innovations such as e-health applications, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles will provide more data collection, it will cause a large increase in cyber-attacks that try to capture this data. In this regard, it is anticipated that many changes will be made in the personal data protection legislation for companies that collect personal data to resist cyber-attacks.
Starlink is defined as a constellation of satellites built to provide satellite internet access operated by SpaceX, a company owned by Elon Musk. SpaceX has placed its own telecommunications satellites in space together with the Starlink Project while placing other satellites so far. These satellites aim to deliver the fastest and most advantageous internet to the remotest corners of the world.
In 2018, two test satellites named Tintin A & B were placed in orbit. The name Tint was inspired by the comic book hero Tintin Adventures. The name Starlink was inspired by John Green’s book “The Fault in Our Stars” following Elon Musk’s statement.
When we return to the project after all these magazine talks, SpaceX company placed 540 satellites in the orbit of the world as of September 2020. In total, it is planned to increase the number of satellites to 42,000. Per the report prepared by the United Nations, a total of 10093 satellites were placed in orbit from the first satellite to orbit until November 2020. Therefore, if Elon Musk’s plan is true, up to five times the satellites sent by all companies around the world will be placed in orbit under the control of Elon Musk.
Thus, does this extraordinary project have harms as well as benefits? Unfortunately, the satellites planned to be sent under the Starlink project are expected to cause Light Pollution. Although Space X states that it will take all kinds of measures in this regard, it is not known whether there is any progress yet.
Besides, the project faced significant criticism for the potential of satellites to create space junk. The main reason why space debris is a growing concern is the risk it poses to satellite-based services on which our modern lifestyle, such as navigation, communications, weather, and climate monitoring, relies heavily. Millions of space debris, currently flying at 18,000 miles per hour in orbit, almost seven times faster than a bullet, can damage and even destroy spaceships and satellites. Space debris can also cause spaceflight to be more challenging and expensive, putting future space exploration at risk. Moreover, if the space object survives Earth’s atmospheric reentry, there is a danger of damaging property or a person on the Earth’s surface.
It consists of space debris/garbage, spacecraft parts, paint spots, and satellites not working. According to the European Space Agency, there are about 130 million debris objects in space and over 900,000 bits are considered dangerous.
Therefore, the prompt implementation of appropriate space debris reduction measures would be an important step towards protecting the outer space environment. However, the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which formed the basic framework of space law, remained too general to deal with the complex and relatively new problems of space debris. Therefore, the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) and the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) are to establish a legal framework for debris reduction, such as the debris reduction guidelines in space. Although these voluntary space debris reduction directives benefit the mutual acceptance of acceptable activities in space by states, they are not binding and do not have an enforcement power to force states to take appropriate measures.
Although we emphasize that the regulations are flexible, according to Article VI, it is regulated that states are directly responsible for space activities carried out either through their own organs or through non-governmental organizations. Therefore, there is an obligation to monitor the activities of both state bodies and non-governmental organizations.
Another important issue is who will be responsible for the damage caused by space debris and garbage. According to the seventh article of the Space Treaty, it is obliged to compensate the damage caused by the space object or its component to another state party to the agreement, or its natural or legal persons. This elaborated by stating that the obligation to pay compensation is absolute if the damage occurred on the surface of the Earth or the aircraft in flight. For damage caused “to the space object of another launching State, or persons or property on board of such a space object” elsewhere than the surface of the earth, an obligation to pay compensation to that State or persons arises if the fault can be attributed to the State or persons making the launch.
Obviously, it is not always possible to determine responsibility. First of all, the device that caused the damage should be identified and the debris should be identified. However, it is difficult to trace the status of the launched device in the process from launch to wreckage retrospectively. Since there are approximately 22,300 debris objects regularly monitored and kept in catalogs to date. However, it is not possible to trace fragments smaller than 10 cm from these debris objects. In this respect, it is impossible to identify and determine the launch status.
In this respect, in addition to the advantages of the Starlink project, it also brings along many uncertain problems such as the fact that the current situation may fall behind this technology and unfortunately there are no sanctions to meet this infrastructure.
III. Conclusion and Evaluation
With the advent of the above-mentioned 5G and Starlink technologies, it has become a general acceptance that many areas of our lives will be extremely easy, but on the other hand, like almost everything that humanity has discovered since its existence, many side effects of these technologies will arise and the resulting side effects will lead to vital problems, especially legal. It can be said that it will open. In this direction, considering that the autonomous vehicle technology, which will spread rapidly with the arrival of 5G technology, will increase, it is still a matter of debate on how to compensate for the legal damages caused by the damages caused by autonomous vehicles. Although it is not common today, one of the most important problems that will arise as it becomes widespread may be the situation where two autonomous vehicles crash with each other due to the same systemic roof problem. In this case, it should be evaluated whether it is possible for companies providing the technology infrastructure to be held responsible for the damages caused by the vehicles offered to the market during their existence, and if it is accepted that it is not possible, it should be determined to whom the responsibility will be shared. As mentioned above, the high data transmission speed and IoT devices to be brought by 5G will process any personal data related to the daily lives of people, and more cyber-attacks will take place to capture this data. In this respect, new regulations are expected to be introduced to protect personal data.
Another important issue is that with Starlink technology, the fact that almost the entire world’s electronic communication system is established and managed by a private company is the problem that can cause on human life. Since this situation will raise big questions not only in terms of privacy and security but also in terms of sustainability, the process and developments should be followed carefully by everyone who is interested or has to. In addition to all these, it is not known how the damages and illegality that the Starlink project will cause in terms of space law will be made legal. In fact, it is a question mark who will be responsible for compensation in the future compensation of the pollution in space.
Kılınç Law & Consulting
 Cyber Spot Magazine, September 2019, Issue: 17, Pg. 9
 United Nations; Agreement on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies; Article 6
İnovasyon & Fintech
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