So, Elon Musk is finally ready to let beta testers play with Starlink, his vision for providing global internet through tiny satellites. (As a note, astronomers hate Starlink, but design changes are being made).
Like everything else, it has terms of service. But Starlink’s terms of service may just…
…go a little too far.
So, What is in That Starlink TOS?
So, here’s the entire terms of service, which somebody posted to Reddit, but which appears to be the official, real TOS.
It’s mostly pretty standard and includes a reminder that the Starlink Kit needs line of sight to the satellites and that it’s not their fault if you can’t get it.
Where it gets entertaining is in the governing law paragraph. Which includes this:
For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.
Elon Musk just declared Martian independence. In a clickthrough TOS.
I can’t stop laughing. No, he can’t do this, although it is true that no country can claim jurisdiction over Mars by current international law. (The same is true of the Moon, but that international law may shift and change if we do start building permanent colonies).
But you can’t declare a planet independent in the TOS of a service, even if you do plan on extending said service to said planet if you ever have customers there.
I give up.
I can’t write better science fiction than this.
I could not have predicted a corporation trying to casually declare Martian independence in a terms of service. And I should have.
And it doesn’t appear to be a joke.
Dear Elon Musk: Thanks for the laugh.