back to article Two arrested in Congo after Google Loon mobe balloon meets terra firma more than 1,000km from operating area

Two people were arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) after the crash of a Google Loon internet connectivity balloon baffled local officials who had no idea the craft was overflying their country. The balloons pack power and connectivity equipment for Google's African mobile connectivity experiment. Operated …

  1. Manolo

    Apparently not arrested

    I read about this yesterday and the article was later amended to state they were not arrested, just questioned and then relased.

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Apparently not arrested

      Seemed the story omitted why they were arrested too? Maybe my skimming skills or too good?

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Apparently not arrested

        Insufficient bribes gratuities, most likely

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apparently not arrested

      That's what google want you to believe and he who controls the spice...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "rolling out a fibre-optic national backbone network – with controversial support from China"

    This is what you need to be scared about.

    1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

      Makes no difference who you buy it from. You can choose to have the Chinese, Russians, or the 5Eyes listening in on your comms. Your chances of installing a fibre-optic network without that these days are mostly non-existent. The Congolese obviously chose the Chinese, who undoubtedly paid the most kick-back to the corrupt government officials who approved the purchase. And before you start on about corruption elsewhere, look at your own government wherever you are. Almost all of them are a bent as a 9 dollarpound note.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I agree with what you say in that regard but as per central Asia China are "giving" many countries a lot debt for these things which then of course need to be repaid in some way. Be that land or control.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        shut that about shut that

        "Almost all of them are a bent as a 9 dollarpound note." And so their corruption is equally of interest to everyone, and equally worthy of mention.

        Note how many times a novel method of oppression/corruption in one place is emulated by the other scurrilous authorities. Forewarned and all that.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yup but I was thinking wider. China now owns a lot of stuff. Including lots of Africa (natural resoirces) something like 40% of American arable land, lots of London etc.

        To mangle the phrase, They maybe bastards but unfortunately they are not our bastards.

        Can't see this ending well for Western interests which means our futures are looking increasingly more like life is in China - it's sphere of influence is only going to get bigger and that includes buying our politicians and eventually culture. Better dust off those Mandarin study books... The Lingua Franca is going to be changing.

        1. Kane Silver badge

          Wait, wait...I know this story...

          There was some kind of civil war between the richer inner planets and the poorer outer planets, there was a spacecraft, a small crew making change running (semi) legal transport...there was a guy who had a lot of guns; no really, a lot of guns, some of which he slept with, and he also had a town named after him, but it was a girls name?


      4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        "You can choose to have the Chinese, Russians, or the 5Eyes"

        "Choose ... or" ???

        Oh to be so naive!

        You may choose which one has first dibs, but if the others want in on it then they will.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: Fine the bastards.

      There's a big difference - NASA is funded by the US taxpayer and provides a (mostly) useful service to humanity.

      Whereas Google is funded by the world's taxpayers and their customers and provides a (costly) useful service to humanity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Fine the bastards.

        I am as yet unconvinced about the "useful", to me it feels about as "useful" as Microsoft's early offers of cheap software to developing countries: there is always a heavy payback later.

        As for the "controlled" landing BS, I suspect they hired a marketing executive from a small company in the same country who had to come up with similar excuses for a product called "737 MAX"..

  4. Dr_N Silver badge

    Sky Pirates

    It's the only logical explanation.

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sky Pirates

      I prefer to think that Lester Haines is trying to communicate with us from the great beyond...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "SCPT is currently rolling out a fibre-optic national backbone network – with controversial support from China"

    One is a company who makes its money spying on you. One is a government who spies on you. What's the difference?

    Anon, because I've gotta feeling somebody's watching me, and I got no privacy....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Letting Google slide?

    The article should of put A LOT MORE emphasis on Google censoring purely for profit without excuse. That is the real interest for real people, the rest of the article should of been a footnote, but what we got was a heap of yet another crashed flying thing.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "violating YouTube's terms of service"

    Funny, they never seem to tell you what term you actually violated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "violating YouTube's terms of service"

      those ones.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge

    Looney tunes

    It's the new Congolese police test for drunkenness;

    "Repeat after me; 'The Loon balloon deludeth us.'"

    "The Loon balloon >hic!< deluneth..."

    "You're nicked!"

  9. HammerOn1024


    Well, gravity does win all arguments. And remember, balloons move at the whim of the winds. I'm assuming they use altitude control to maintain an operations area; they change altitude to pick up a course changing wind.

    Given that, the guidance system probably died and it drifted south west to its final resting place. I'm amazed that goggle didn't bring it down in Kenya. They must not be monitoring these things very closely if it was able to drift over 1,000 km!

    1. TXITMAN

      Re: Gravity

      These things are all over the world but flying very high, like 52,000 feet high.

    2. chuBb. Silver badge

      Re: Gravity

      Wish i could find my "Gravity, I fought the law, but the law won" t shirt

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If you think BT are bastards, you ain't see nothing yet.

  11. Sparkus Bronze badge

    I am really surprised that the CCP hasn't announced a competitor to Musks' Skylink.

    The GoogleBalloons are a temporary-at-best means to an end.

    1. chuBb. Silver badge

      Nah they will wait till its deployed, then engage the backdoors and take over the C&C interface and change the default passwords....

      As a side note, i do wonder how many things in orbit got there with the default passwords unchanged...

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