WASHINGTON, January 23 (Sputnik) — Depending on a Russian satellite system to route US emergency phone calls, as outlined in a proposal being considered by the US government’s main communications agency, would endanger the lives of American citizens, US Congressman Mike Rogers’ spokesperson Shea Miller told Sputnik.
“Using Russian technology could make any emergency situation even worse because Russia doesn’t play by the rules and we put American lives in jeopardy by relying on them,” the spokesperson said on Thursday, after being asked to comment on the plan to use Russia’s GLONASS satellite system to support US emergency calls.
Rogers’s spokesperson told Sputnik that it was still illogical to depend on Russia to any extent, particularly on matters of public security.
Rogers also asked US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and National Intelligence Director James Clapper to detail the national security implications if US communication capabilities were to hinge on Russia’s system. In addition, he requested a status of the FCC proposal and asked for guarantees that Hagel and Clapper would act to ensure the plan was “not allowed to move forward.” Russia’s actions in Ukraine and their arms control violations were the main reason for such restrictions, Rogers explained.
Although GLONASS is thought to be more accurate than America’s GPS system, which relies on cellphone technology that does not perform well indoors, some lawmakers fear the plan could provide Russia with the ability to impair US emergency response capabilities by knowing the location of first responders.
Russia has been developing GLONASS since 1976 in line with instructions from the Defense Ministry. The system, which was launched into orbit in 1982, currently comprises a network of 28 satellites.