28 August 2014

11 February 2014

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US bans Russia's GLONASS for spying fears
Untitled Document

The United States does not want GLONASS stations on its territory. Americans are afraid that Russia's GLONASS global satellite navigation system might be used to spy on the US. No official ban has been imposed, but the new requirements that have been put forward now make the deployment of ground-based tracking stations next to impossible.

The 2014 defense bill signed by President Barack Obama rules that the navigation systems of other countries must not harm the American GPS system by making it less commercially attractive and obliged to transmit only uncodified data.

Despite that unfriendly gesture towards GLONASS, satellite navigation is a sphere where cooperation and teamwork should prevail, Alexei Smyatskikh, General Director of the SpaceTeam holding, told the Voice of Russia.

"There are no restrictions on GPS signal reception or use in Russia or anywhere in the world. We have always been open to cooperation. All specialists have always said and continue saying that customers will benefit much more by using both systems - the GLONASS-GPS combination - than by using just one," Smyatskikh said.

The Russian side applied for permission to build GLONASS tracking stations on US soil in May 2012.

The US State Department was about to grant it but faced strong criticism from Congress and the Pentagon amid fears that Russia might potentially use those stations for spying on the US, hence a clause in the defense bill requiring that foreign satellite navigation systems transmit only uncodified data.

The problem is, however, that the American side too can use its GPS system for military purposes. So, should Russia respond?

"One of the reasons why we began deploying our own satellite navigation system was that, firstly, we do not want to depend on the prospect of being cut off as it might occur to the Americans to do, and, secondly, we want to rule out situations where the GPS might be used to spy on the movements of some of our sensitive shipments or persons," Alexander Vlasov, Marketing Director for the Grotek company told the Voice of Russia.

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