There are a few uses for ground-to-space lasers in science fiction settings. One is the laser broom, used to shoot space debris until it deorbits and burns up. Another is beam propulsion, or sending energy to a launching spacecraft via laser. These technologies pose a pretty serious question; how do you prevent millions of people from going blind when they inadvertently look up at the sky?
As I understand it, lasers can cause eye damage even if you aren't in the path of the beam due to scattered radiation and diffuse reflections. An obvious solution would be to provide laser safety glasses; in a small-scale, single-room laboratory, this works fine. However, I can't wrap my head around how you could possibly distribute enough glasses to reach every single person on this half of the Earth, and communicate to them when and where the laser will fire no matter their language or literacy level.
This kind of logistics would require knowing the location of every single human being within a horizon's length, including isolated rural families, remote indigenous tribes, homeless folks, etc etc, and being able to send them protective equipment, time and date without timezone errors, direction, and an order to lock themselves indoors without windows. Plus, there are animals, who you can't just put safety glasses on. I've considered the unethical approach of having the government/corporation/military just ignore the people and animals they aren't able to reach, but I think this would be financial and political suicide in the age of social media.
My question is this: how can you safely fire a laser at an orbital (or beyond) target without blinding millions of people?