The Russia-Ukraine war has placed a fresh spotlight on the extremely close relationship between civil technology and military technology, with the Starlink satellite communication service operated by a subsidiary of SpaceX supporting Ukrainian military operations and Microsoft protecting Ukraine from Russia’s cyberattacks.

At the same time, Starlink has stirred a variety of debates over the issue of military application of civil technology, as Ukrainian troops reported outages of their Starlink communication devices on the front line in the country’s eastern regions in the fall of 2022, and it has recently been reported that Russian forces have been using them illegally in Ukrainian territories.

By looking back at how Starlink has been utilized in the war, this article will discuss today’s military application of civil technologies, the changing role of the private sector over emerging technologies and what kind of challenges the situation is bringing to democratic states.