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Galileo Navigation System Gets Go-Ahead From EU Parliament

timothy posted about a year ago | from the und-wo-bin-ich-jetzt? dept.

Earth 178

An anonymous reader writes "Plans to start up the EU's first global satellite navigation system (GNSS) built under civilian control, entirely independent of other navigation systems and yet interoperable with them, were approved by MEPs on Wednesday. Both parts of this global system — Galileo and EGNOS — will offer citizens a European alternative to America's GPS or Russia's Glonass signals. The Galileo system could be used in areas such as road safety, fee collection, traffic and parking management, fleet management, emergency call, goods tracking and tracing, online booking, safety of shipping, digital tachographs, animal transport, agricultural planning and environmental protection to drive growth and make citizens' lives easier."

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wat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480665)

Fee collection!??? it's always about money.... the goverment has been trying to get us into a pay as u drive type deal since 10 years and now they have the means to do it.

Re:wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480827)

Or maybe they could just tax petrol?

Re:wat? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480899)

Casual gangbang.
Racist men fart.
Fat nigger's twins.

What do those things mean to you?

Re:wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481077)

The current system is a flat road tax based on what vehicle you own, regardless of if you drive it or not.
By tracking not only mileage but also what roads you drive on it could actually become possible to tax people based on how much of the repairing cost they are responsible for.

What it will be used for... (4, Insightful)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | about a year ago | (#45480681)

Road tax per kilometer driven. By having a tracking device in every car. This has already been discussed in Dutch parliament, and so far has been rejected, but it probably won't be forever; I know people who are actually in favor of such draconian surveillance.

Of course, a decade after that it will be used to collect speeding fines on all roads. Which makes sense from a government point of view, but would be a practical nightmare.

Re:What it will be used for... (4, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45480785)

In the US, whenever this comes up, people ask why not just check the odometer and charge a tax at vehicle re-registration.

Re:What it will be used for... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45480813)

Yeah, there's no possible way to fiddle that system.

Re:What it will be used for... (2, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year ago | (#45481167)

Considering it's been illegal as hell for decades to mess with the odometer, yeah. You're moving from regular fraud to tax fraud on a system built to be fraud-resistant. You can't even use a power drill to roll the numbers back now--and I've tried that on systems that let you, it takes eternity. To complicate the matter, even shit as old as 1980s has the numbers locked to the whole mechanical system controlling it; the stuff holding this together isn't bolted in, but rather cut and bent from a plate, so you'd have to make some very visible changes (cut or bend aluminum to deformation) to actually manually roll the numbers.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45481335)

Considering it's been illegal as hell for decades to mess with the odometer, yeah.

If miles were taxed there'd be a lot more incentive for ordinary people to fiddle, not just dodgy used-car salesmen.

It's illegal to do a lot of things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481405)

What, precisely, are you trying to prove by saying this?

If your car is tracked each mile, then your fiddling of the odometer DOES NOT MATTER.

Therefore the criminality of car tampering has no bearing on whether this system should be used for taxing mileage.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45481751)

You wouldn't need to. It's a simple matter of disconnecting it entirely - drive, but don't rank up the miles. Might mean driving without a speedometer too, depending how it's built.

I imagine on a modern car the engine control computer also keeps track though, so there'd be a discrepancy if anyone were suspicious enough to check.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#45481771)

No you can legally fudge the odometer, you just have to mention that on the title when you sell it. It varies by state, but in Arizona they call these "box c" cars (Box C is a portion of the title that indicates that the actual mileage of the car doesn't match what is listed on the odometer, and so writing down the mileage is optional.)

Used car dealers do this all the time, though they tend to sell the cars as box A when they do so (box A is where you list the actual mileage.) Box B is where you put so many miles on it that the odometer rolled over past zero.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about a year ago | (#45481861)

The Dutch proposal called for a tax based on congestion. Busy road->more expensive, i.e. it was both time and place sensitive. The idea was to offer drivers a monetary incentive to not use the roads when they are busiest, alleviating traffic jams for those who do need to be on that road at that time. Odometers don't cut it for this use case.
This would have replaced the current ownership tax in favor of a system where the heaviest users pay the most.

Re:What it will be used for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481879)

because a state does not have the power to tax a car driven in another state,
this won't work.

Re:What it will be used for... (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#45480793)

This is a stupidly expensive way to do road tax.

If you want to do that, electronic booths are much simpler - Italy has them already. Any motorway, you take a ticket when you get on, pay when you get off. You don't need multi-billion pound satellite systems to do it.

And Galileo doesn't "send" signals from the car to the satellites. The car "receives" the current position from the satellites. So there's absolutely NOTHING in this that couldn't be done without Galileo (hell, we have GPS for a start!). And, to be honest, the easiest tax is just to tax petrol and diesel more.

Tracking devices in the car make NO difference here. If you want to tax, you do not need them, and they are actually easily tampered with / jammed and more costly than just deploying an ANPR or toll system anyway.

Speeding fines on all roads? Fuck, to me that's reason enough to let them do it. STOP FUCKING BREAKING THE LAW. If you want to speed, campaign for higher speed limits (a proposal TOTALLY IGNORED by the electorate last time it was brought up in the UK political system), not disregarding the laws we have.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45480859)

If you want to tax, you do not need them, and they are actually easily tampered with / jammed and more costly than just deploying an ANPR or toll system anyway.

ANPR has several problems - you need cameras on every street corner, it lets the government know everywhere you go, people can put false plates on their cars, etc.

(No, the government probably won't see any of those as a problem, but their opposition will...)

A GPS system could just measure distance traveled, not locations or any other data. The car could refuse to work if it doesn't receive a GPS signal that makes sense. If it's in a tamper-proof box then hacking it could be difficult enough that most people wouldn't bother.

Re:What it will be used for... (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year ago | (#45481059)

The car could refuse to work if it doesn't receive a GPS signal that makes sense.

Like when you go into a tunnel.

Re:What it will be used for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481355)

Or when you are in your garage. Much fun to manually push your car out every morning to get GPS reception.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45481375)

Gee, if only the car engineers could think of problems like that.

Maybe you could call them and get involved in the design process. Without your input they might make a car whose engines switch off two microseconds after losing the GPS signal.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Painted (1343347) | about a year ago | (#45481329)

ANPR has several problems - you need cameras on every street corner, it lets the government know everywhere you go, people can put false plates on their cars, etc.

(No, the government probably won't see any of those as a problem, but their opposition will...)

A GPS system could just measure distance traveled, not locations or any other data. The car could refuse to work if it doesn't receive a GPS signal that makes sense. If it's in a tamper-proof box then hacking it could be difficult enough that most people wouldn't bother.

So you don't trust plate readers, as the government can track you, but you believe that a GPS system will be used to ONLY measure "distance traveled, not locations or other data."

Do you have any basic understanding on how GPS type systems work?

Re:What it will be used for... (3, Insightful)

LavouraArcaica (2012798) | about a year ago | (#45480889)

I really can't see how GPS (or galileo) (or odometer checking) could be more usefull than taxing the gas/diesel, since both systems could be cheated, but you cannot drive without gas.

And there is another point of taxing gas (versus km driven): it estimulates people to buy more economic mileage cars.

So, why change a system that (a) works and (b) it's fair to a system that can be cheated and it's not so fair?

Re:What it will be used for... (2)

benlad (1368001) | about a year ago | (#45480943)

You could reduce congestion by taxing busy roads more than lightly used ones.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

BullInChina (3376331) | about a year ago | (#45481717)

No this would force all of us peons to drive on secondary streets that were not designed to handle that traffic causing crazy congestion on the less taxed roads, while our rulers drive traffic free on superbly designed highways.

Re:What it will be used for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481013)

And there is another point of taxing gas (versus km driven): it estimulates people to buy more economic mileage cars.

I fully agree, and so do the politicians. If its for collecting taxes, for once they are actually thinking ahead. If electric cars get enough traction that would be a big dip in taxes earned. (Yes, they do tax electricity, but far far less than gas. Besides, why lose the chance to double-tax something)

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | about a year ago | (#45481025)

Electric Cars are to blame for Tax-By-Distance. Electric Cars don't pay petrol taxes. As more electric cars hit the road, taxes collected from petrol will keep going down, as the number of cars total continues to rise. Electric car drivers think they are getting a free pass, but they are about to get a rude awakening once the governments figure out a tax them equally. Roads are not free. They cost a lot of money to build and maintain, and those fat pigs called Electric Cars weighing as much as an SUV do as much damage to the roads SUVs.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

michrech (468134) | about a year ago | (#45481039)

As vehicles become more fuel efficient, the amount of tax you collect goes down. We are facing that problem in several states in the US, and said states are supposedly giving more thought to pay-as-you-drive taxes instead of more gas taxes (which, even if you do raise the taxes, as cars become more fuel efficient, you're tax revenue still declines).

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

michrech (468134) | about a year ago | (#45481045)

Oops... That should be "your tax revenue", not "your're"... Can't believe I did that... :(

Re:What it will be used for... (5, Insightful)

hydrofix (1253498) | about a year ago | (#45481163)

While I don't agree that camera surveillance or a ticket booth system on motorways in a solution for all parts of Europe, I think the military and economic applications of EU's own GPS system are probably more important than the surveillance applications. While a direct military confrontation with the USA and EU is exceedingly unlikely now, or at any point in the future (thanks to NATO), there could be future proxy wars where EU and US opinions differ, and where the US might conceivably use jamming of the GPS signals to e.g. to render EU wardrones inoperable. Such situation might arise in the Middle East for example, where Europeans seem more open to the Arab/Palestinian causes than the Americans, who are very staunchly allied with Israel. Or any other military situation involving proxies – bottom line is, it's not a bad idea to develop new military technology that's not dependent on tech by others, especially as wardrones are looking more and more like the future of warfare, and sooner or later EU must start producing its own wardrones.

Further down the road, trade disputes between the US and EU are much more common and likely than any forms of military engagement. Should a trade dispute escalate, it's conceivable though unlikely, that there might develop a situation where the Americans would leverage their control over GPS as a weapon in trade negotiations, especially if the tech under dispute is dependent on positioning tech – like is true for more and more of new high tech. Look at what happened to Samsung in Apple v. Samsung – essentially a modern form of protectionism through a flawed trial by court. Hopefully not a sign of things to come.

For EU, it's not a bad to have its own positioning system just in case for situations like those. While it seems currently very unlikely that the US would abuse its control over GPS in any situation, no one knows what future could hold. As deploying a GPS system is a process that takes years or decades to complete, if a need arises at some point, it's probably too late by then. Especially the wardrone tech seems like something that the EU might want its own GPS system for already now (think exporting this tech to countries not allied with US). And on the good side, I can imagine many worse uses for EU tax dollars than developing space technology!

Re:What it will be used for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481803)

While it seems currently very unlikely that the US would abuse its control over GPS in any situation

It also seemed, for decades, very unlikely that the US would abuse its control over the internet.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45481347)

This is a stupidly expensive way to do road tax.

It would be ... if it was being built by a government just for road taxing, but it's not, and it isn't.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | about a year ago | (#45480823)

We're having the same debate here in Finland currently. Sadly, most people seem only concerned with the eternal "tax or no tax" debate, shortsightedly arguing this would hurt their interest group and favor some other group tax-wise. Very few in the public sphere seem concerned that this is at its core about establishing a government surveillance database about the precise location of every registered vehicle in the country, 24/7. Of course, the authorities are having the same mantra as always with more surveillance: it would be only used by the police against "the really bad criminals", the system would be "unbreakable" security-wise, etc. etc.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#45480891)

Road tax per kilometer driven. By having a tracking device in every car. This has already been discussed in Dutch parliament, and so far has been rejected, but it probably won't be forever; I know people who are actually in favor of such draconian surveillance.

It would only be discussed in Dutch parliament, as the Netherlands is very flat and has no mountains or tunnels.

But why wouldn't they just use the car odometer?

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481389)

Netherlands is very flat and has no mountains or tunnels.

The Netherlands has many [wikipedia.org] tunnels for such a small country, due to the large number of rivers and canals.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

ivano (584883) | about a year ago | (#45480909)

What do you mean draconian? If, like a lot of /.-ers, you are libertarian how else will we pay for using the roads? A petrol/gas tax? But that's forced stealing - so you can't have that! The only far system is you-pay-as-you-go. The more miles you travel on the roads the more you need to pay. If you have a better system I would like to hear it.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#45480977)

Lots of these ideas get discussed but never go anywhere though. They've had the same discussion in the UK a few times but it's one of those issues that has so little public support they have zero hope of ever going ahead with it.

Re:What it will be used for... (1)

havana9 (101033) | about a year ago | (#45481683)

I have a better idea, that could also give a reward for more efficient cars.
Raise the taxes on fuel. Simple and effective. For lorries and buses, european legislation requires from the eighties that they're equipped with a tachigraph that will record the mileage and the peak speed.

The real reason for Galileo (2)

messymerry (2172422) | about a year ago | (#45480693)

Simply put, they don't trust us enough to use our system...and are willing to spend billions of Euros to prove it. Perhaps, maybe the GPS constellation should become a UN protectorate and no nation should be able to weaponize it... Just sayin'

Re:The real reason for Galileo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480803)

Simply put, they don't trust us

Honestly, I don't trust us and I am us so I'm not surpised that they don't trust us either.

Re:The real reason for Galileo (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45480913)

You missed the key point, which is:

under civilian control

US civilians might be able to use it as well when the revolution comes ... just sayin'.

Re:The real reason for Galileo (1)

fisted (2295862) | about a year ago | (#45481409)

Simply put, they don't trust us enough to use our system...

Yep.

and are willing to spend billions of Euros to prove it.

Huh, now it's just about proving it? Think much?

Perhaps, maybe the GPS constellation should become a UN protectorate and no nation should be able to weaponize it... Just sayin'

Yeah, but then, to say it with your own words:

Simply put, they don't trust us

To what end? (0, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45480701)

The primary downside the US GPS system is that it limits high precision navigation to military purposes. For anything not needing to be super precise, GPS works just fine.

And even then, you can get the ultra precise lock if you really want it.

Why would the Europeans need anything else? They get everything the americans get out of it. Including military targeting.

Look, build whatever you want. It just seems like in this case the euros are just saying "me too" and building something because someone else built it never mind that its redundant.

Re:To what end? (4, Interesting)

seoras (147590) | about a year ago | (#45480735)

You assume that European's view America as a friend who will always let them use GPS?
Of course friends don't spy on friends or apply pressure to force diplomatic aircraft out of the sky, etc, etc.

There's other reasons.
Like spending European money on European technology projects & creating European jobs - even if they seem unnecessary.
That's a winner for me (speaking as a European).

Depend too much on the technology of another power and you end up belonging to that power entirely.

Re:To what end? (1)

fche (36607) | about a year ago | (#45480975)

"Like spending European money on European technology projects & creating European jobs - even if they seem unnecessary. That's a winner for me (speaking as a European)."

Beware of the Broken Window Fallacy though. Just because it's europeans doing it, you wouldn't want to pay for teams to dig & refill holes, would you?

Re:To what end? (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45481067)

As to letting you use the GPS system... we always have let you use it and I don't see why you'd think we wouldn't.

As to spying, you spy on us all the time as well so that's hypocritical. I'll tell you what... If I were in charge, I'd offer this to the european countries upset by spying. I would offer to not spy on you if you do not spy on us. Reciprocal intelligence treaty. No intelligence agency can target any american citizen or official for any reason. And in return, we would offer the same to you.

You would never sign it. Which is why I would offer it to you. To prove your hypocrisy.

The hypocrisy dealt with...

As to leverage in diplomatic issues, that's just diplomacy. All countries do that all the time. Its called negotiation. You don't think allies of the US don't try to pressure the US to agree to things all the time that are not in its interest? It happens constantly. And if we are so unfortunate to have a bad bargaining position at the time then they might force our hand. If that is something you call betrayal then many european countries have betrayed the US repeatedly.

It isn't betrayal. Its diplomacy. Deal with it.

As to belonging to another power, you'll have to do a lot more then build a GPS system to get out from under our protection.

You'll have to build an ACTUAL navy, an ACTUAL air force, an ACTUAL army, and be willing to use them in combined forces to protect your interests.

Remember Kosovo? America does. We watched you play with the Serbs for months. It was pathetic. You were getting stalemated by a third world country. A similar thing happened in Libya.

Europe cannot presume to exert US level military power unless it builds a military similar to the US military. Even if you break it up on national lines... it doesn't matter. Together you'd have to be able to project that kind of force. And until you do... you're going to rely on US strategic support. And if you are relying on US strategic support, using a different navigation system is going to complicate our ability to help you.

We had this problem repeatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan. European allies would frequently be a liability because they weren't communicating or coordinating properly.

Look... do as you please and my point is not to be mean here. I'm just saying... we are you allies and this move isn't actually helpful either to you or to us. It just creates complication to no purpose. But whatever. In the end it doesn't really matter.

Re:To what end? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year ago | (#45481277)

We had this problem repeatedly in Iraq and Afghanistan. European allies would frequently be a liability because they weren't communicating or coordinating properly.

Look... do as you please and my point is not to be mean here. I'm just saying... we are you allies and this move isn't actually helpful either to you or to us. It just creates complication to no purpose. But whatever. In the end it doesn't really matter.

This isn't anything new. It's been going on since WW2.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481477)

Reciprocal intelligence treaty.

You seem to actually think that anyhting in the relationship between the US and its "allies" is even close to reciprocal. You are sadly mistaken, albeit honestly so. /nothing/ there is reciprocal. The US does what it wants, when it wants, where it wants. That's a privilege that comes with size.

Do you seriously think any US administration / secret services / whatever would ever permit other countries to establish and operate a syping network like that in the US? Tapping into obamas phones?

Re:To what end? (4, Informative)

ledow (319597) | about a year ago | (#45480753)

Because we don't trust the Americans, basically. They have a tendency to temporarily switch off GPS in areas of conflict and only share the encrypted military signal with allies that are fighting with them (not neutrals, etc.).

This tends to fuck up shipping in the areas around it, and lots of other problems.

Additionally, the accuracy of Galileo is better. That's a plus point in itself. More satellites in the sky - on whatever system - means more correlation, means better signal in cities and valleys. It doesn't matter what standard, so long as the receiver can decode them and correlate their information. I lose signal every time I go into London, because the high-rises block it. And driving around London's one-way systems when you're not familiar with them? That's the one time you WANT a GPS device to work properly. It's worth it for that alone.

Additionally, the Russians AND the Chinese are doing the same. So Asia and Europe have their own systems. Big deal. Maybe it's because we just don't want to rely on the Americans to hold to their promises. And maybe it's because - for our own military needs - we do not want to be dependent on even an ally. Imagine telling the American people that GPS only works for as long as they stay friends with France. See how much uproar there is, even if they are allies at the moment.

It's leverage over Europe, that we don't need, and that the Americans have exercised in the Middle East. GPS, the commercial / public signal, was switched off and jammed because it might help set up attacks. So entire nations had fucked up GPS because the US thought someone was going to bomb somewhere. That's not a commercially-viable technology to navigate a ship or a plane by. And reason enough to build a replacement that has a bit more "local" control over it, but harms nobody.

Re:To what end? (4, Informative)

gramty (1344605) | about a year ago | (#45480901)

If there Americans felt strongly enough to disable non-US Military use of their GPS system in an area, I would be extremely surprised if they would leave rival systems functional. Jamming GPS would be trivial for them.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481005)

With GPS they can disable civilian use without hindering military use.
If they start jamming things, then they won't be able to use it either.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481177)

Actually, they will. Galileo was at first intended to use the same frequency band as GPS (Navstar) for the explicit purpose that the US would not be able to jam it without also jamming their own signal. This made the US upset, and the EU predictably caved in and the used a different frequency band. Just so the Americans can jam Galileo whenever they want with no impact on their own system.

Re:To what end? (3, Insightful)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#45481281)

Just so the Americans can jam Galileo whenever they want with no impact on their own system.

And the converse is true. Seems fair to me.

Re:To what end? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481209)

If there Americans felt strongly enough to disable non-US Military use of their GPS system in an area, I would be extremely surprised if they would leave rival systems functional. Jamming GPS would be trivial for them.

They could have done that during the Iraqi conflict instead of disrupting the GPS system for the entire world. They decided not to. You were probably the only one who were surprised by this since that function is built into the system for that particular reason.

Even North Korea managed to locally jam the GPS signals to prevent US surveillance flight so it is clearly a viable strategy but the US military still decides not to use it.

The Galileo system shouldn't be necessary but it is, and for no good reason. It will also make the military GPS satellites that sends an encrypted timestamp obsolete.

Re:To what end? (3, Interesting)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45481411)

Jamming GPS is actually quite difficult at least at a distance. The signals are low-power but very directional and if someone ignores satellites at low sky angles especially in the direction of hostile forces then singals from the other satellites in the constellation should be uncorrupted.

Local jamming of GPS is easier to carry out. If there is only a few km or so between the receivers and the jammers then they can be swamped or subverted, fed corrupt data to make them inaccurate. General jamming isn't going to work unless aircraft fly over the area to be jammed and that puts them at risk of being shot down in a conflict. They also need to stay on station for extended periods and as yet drones can't carry the amount of equipment and generating capacity to do a good job in such circumstances.

Re:To what end? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#45481551)

That is why the Russian GLONASS and EU Galileo systems use frequencies close to those used by the US GPS system. It becomes impossible to jam others without also jamming your own.

Re:To what end? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480917)

Imagine telling the American people that GPS only works for as long as they stay friends with France.

Repeated to highlight one point that by itself ought to convince any freedom-fries loving American.

Re:To what end? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45480939)

We don't trust our own governments either, that's why this is being built by civilians .

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481211)

Civilian in this case means non-military. The governments are very much involved.

Re:To what end? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45480951)

Russia and china aren't allied with the US. They can't use the GPS system for military purposes. Where as you are offered that by the Americans.

As to shipping routes etc, the reason for that is that you don't want the enemy using your own navigation system against you. So we do encrypt the system in areas of conflict. But why wouldn't the europeans do the same thing?

If NATO is involved in something then why wouldn't the EU do the exact same thing? The alternative is that you make your system avaliable to enemy use. Which means YOUR soldiers could get killed by drones or missiles that are using YOUR navigation system.

See?

If you're smart, you'll have to encrypt your system as well in areas of conflict. And really, the US will likely ask you to do it even if you're not in that area at the time. And being our allies... you'll probably do it for the same reason we would encrypt our GPS system in areas you fought in but we did not.

We're friends and so we help each other in these matters.

As to not trusting the US Government... join the club. Americans don't trust their own government at this point. However, that has nothing to do with spying and everything to do with the government having no respect for rights.

It has been funny watching the fake outrage from the europeans over the whole spying issue... from the politicians in any case. The citizens of europe are of course ACTUALLY mad. But the politicians knew all along. We had agreements to share data with them and vice versa.

Its too bad we have such an idiot in office. If Obama were smart, he'd offer this to the various nations pretending outrage... Agree not to spy on them if they agree not to spy on us. Reciprocal intelligence treaty. Now of course, they do spy on us all the time. Perhaps we're better at it but its not for their lack of trying. We are continually catching people spying on us all the time from all over the world. Mostly our own allies. And we've been catching them for over 40 years... or perhaps since always. But it has increased over the years.

I don't know what to tell you. We are your friends. Actually. We've been your allies for a long time and we've been faithful throughout. I'm not sure what we'd have to do to improve your impression.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481309)

Dude, the UKUSA was started in 1946. At that time Europe was in shatters after the World War II and was in no position to spy on USA.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481627)

The alternative is that you make your system avaliable to enemy use. Which means YOUR soldiers could get killed by drones or missiles that are using YOUR navigation system.

See?

The scenario you are describing has never happened.

North Korea has already shown that it is possible to jam the GPS signal to make it impossible for the enemy to use it. They prevented a US surveillance flight that way without disrupting navigation worldwide.

You are using a lot of words to argue for a solution that is obsolete and has been replaced by better options.

Re:To what end? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45481807)

So you build receivers that work on the US, EU, Russian *and* Chinese systems. If one or two decide to cut the signal, you can still navigate. Plus you can use them for verification: If three of the four put you in a 50m radius of a location, and the other says you are 2KM to the south, you can disregard the outlyer as malfunction/jamming/subversion.

Re:To what end? (2)

kaiser423 (828989) | about a year ago | (#45481053)

I generally agree with your sentiment; it's a strategic call by the Europeans, theirs to make and they have a lot of good reasons. When discussing Galileo, I do often see this though:

Additionally, the accuracy of Galileo is better. That's a plus point in itself.

In it's base state the *proposed* Galileo system is more accurate than the *current* GPS system. By the time Galileo launches, enough of the new generation GPS satellites will be in orbit that GPS will be as or more accurate. Now, when all devices are upgraded to support blending of Glonass, GPS and Galileo solutions then everyone's positional fix will be that much more accurate and robust, which is awesome. I'm all for that :)

Re:To what end? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year ago | (#45481305)

Because we don't trust the Americans, basically. They have a tendency to temporarily switch off GPS in areas of conflict and only share the encrypted military signal with allies that are fighting with them (not neutrals, etc.).

This tends to fuck up shipping in the areas around it, and lots of other problems.

So you want to ship product through an area that is known to have an ongoing armed conflict? How is that even sane?

Re:To what end? (0)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year ago | (#45481787)

For the record, the US has never turned off civillian GPS channels. In fact, about 10 years ago they disabled selective availability and promissed never to turn it on again.

The entire official claimed reason for galileo is better accuracy in europe. The system will never have reliable or even usable coverage outside the EU unless they massively increased the planned size. You need about 50 birds for global coverage and the galileo system is planned for 6 birds.

You keep saying that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481871)

You keep saying that the US has a history of shutting GPS signals off... I think you are wrong.

http://www.gps.gov/support/faq/#off

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480757)

Gallileo offers a higher precision. Furthermore, the Americans have shown they cannot be trusted, so it is useful not to be dependent on a system they control.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480759)

US GPS is under the USA control and no one trusts the USA much so everybody is building their own version.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480783)

Simple, the U.S. at any point in time can lock out ALL use of GPS satellites for any reason they deem necessary. Why would the Europeans want to be at the mercy of the U.S. decision making machine on something that in many instances can be of critical use? And good god... I have been hearing about the Galileo system since the 90's... thought this kind of thing would have been handled by now lol

Re:To what end? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#45480941)

Remember: U.S. citizens are also at the mercy of the U.S. decision making machine.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481107)

Remember: U.S. citizens are also at the mercy of the U.S. decision making machine.

I don't give a shit about US citizens. Being a European I care alot about the US meddling into EU affairs.
American technology is poisened technology. The less we rely on it, the better we will be in the long run.
And it helps the EU be less "dependent" upon its sugar daddy. Of course nothing of this aplies to the UK, since they're the United States whore.

Re:To what end? (1)

anmre (2956771) | about a year ago | (#45480791)

I disagree. Space races seem more peaceful and productive than arms races. Not that you necessarily implied that, but I think that the EU and others such as India are seizing upon an opportunity to compete with the US while it decides whether it truly values its own space program (NASA).

Re:To what end? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45481115)

Well, we're trying to boot strap a private sector space program. You've likely seen what is happening with the new orbital launch start up companies.

That is our next move. We'd like to make NASA more of a science and coordination department that does lots of hard science and possibly sets goals. But the actual space rockets etc have always been built by private contractors and the most reliable source of funding is the private sector. If we can bootstrap a private sector space program it should be more efficient, more sustainable, and ultimately more productive.

I don't know if you've looked at the difference in cost between what it costs NASA to build a rocket and what it costs a private company to build a rocket... but NASA tends to spend anywhere from double to ten times what the market rate is for many projects. Its just government waste at a certain point. And if we're in a space race with an enemy power that wants to annihilate us then we can tolerate that sort of thing. But if we're not then there's no reason to excuse it.

Anyway... we've never stopped.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2I8AoB1xgU [youtube.com]

This the boys out of JPL. No one is better at this... no one has invested or continues to invest as much as us in this... we're just thinking long term about how to actually conquer space.

We need a paradigm shift. That is what we're doing. We're not stopping. We're evolving.

Re:To what end? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45481255)

NASA has never built rockets, it's bought them from Boeing and a whole host of other US companies over the years. The new "private" launch startup companies are Seven Dwarfs [toolbox.com] who will rely to a large part on US government money via NASA and other organisations like US DoD to offset their costs and pad the bottom line.

Re:To what end? (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45481369)

For now. And we'll pay that. The idea is that over time we want to get more for less by giving up control of it to a more organic market driven system that might be more innovative and consistent in its objectives.

Recently we had the director of NASA say his biggest mission was Muslim outreach. That's just politics obviously and stupid politics at that... but its typical of the way political organizations work. They don't have a consistent bottom line. They can be very mercurial... shifting randomly one way then the other. This upsets long term projects that might take ten years to develop and another ten after that to build followed by perhaps another ten years to monitor the results. No political organization can maintain focus that long. Not the US government, not the Chinese, and not any nation in europe.

You might be focused on space right now but how long will that last? Will you maintain focus for the next 60 years? I doubt it. You won't focus consistently.

A private sector approach might be able to do that. The trick will be creating a way to make a profit in space.

Communications sats are very profitable. We use them for TV, internet, navigation, orbital observation, etc. So that portion of the industry is already very healthy. We need to branch that out somehow to encompass something more ambitious.

Regardless, we need to bring the cost of launching things into orbit down to a more reasonable price.

Too many people think "just spend more money" is a solution to a problem. You can fix anything that way but you can't fix everything that way. Some things will have to be efficient.

We hear people say that to solve our healthcare issues, our military issues, our various economic issues, our diplomatic problems, etc... everyone always says as the first thing "just spend more money"... well we can't do that for everything. Its not sustainable. We can spend more on something as the cost of spending less on others. But no one can ever agree on what gets less funding. Its always more for everything.

So yes... we're trying to find ways to spend less on the space program while still maintaining a credible space program. It isn't easy. But the intellectual vacuums that keep saying "spend more" are not helping.

Re:To what end? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45481597)

Europe isn't focussed on space. It sees a space industry and a space presence as a valuable asset to civil life in Europe and elsewhere. The US sees it mostly as another place to put military hardware.

As for "maintaining focus" we've seen other powers lose, for example, intrinsic manned space capability and having to go cap-in-hand to the Old Enemy to get their people into orbit. No names no pack-drill, but as you point out retrenchment could happen to ESA too.

The US space launch business has never been healthier thanks to the US DoD and intelligence organisations. More spy satellites, more global dominance infrastructure, not so much commercial launches which are going more and more to the cheaper European and the Russian specialists who only launch military gear sometimes.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480845)

The primary downside the US GPS system is that it limits high precision navigation to military purposes. For anything not needing to be super precise, GPS works just fine.

If you need very precise locations, people use DGPS (differential GPS). DGPS even works when they encrypt the P-code.
This can result in very accurate position (±3mm for easting, ±3mm for northing and ±8mm for elevation).
This accuracy is good enough for general surveying, but for special works you need even more accurate positioning and Galileo can provide that.

Re:To what end? (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year ago | (#45481213)

So, can I get +-3mm DGPS running for less than $200US? I have some long property lines traversing hills that I'd like to mark, and a survey is too expensive for my limited means.

Re:To what end? (4, Informative)

StoneCrusher (717949) | about a year ago | (#45481755)

$200? Nope. And you have to within range of a base station that transmits the differential signal. And they aren't cheap.

Most of the error (enough to turn meters into mm) in GPS is identical for a few km, so a base station is placed statically, spends some serious time with a high quality antenna getting its true location and then transmits the error to a compatible receiver. Base stations and GPS receivers with radios are not cheap. ($2000- $20000).

It's not quite the easy solution AC makes it out to be above.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_Time_Kinematic [wikipedia.org]

Re:To what end? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#45480947)

Why would the Europeans need anything else? They get everything the americans get out of it. Including military targeting.

When the system was originally being discussed, the US government were fairly strongly pushing the EU not to implement it, and gave the reasoning that the US would never shut NavStar down so the EU didn't need to implement their own system. When it became clear that the EU were going ahead with the experimental phase of galileo, the US government changed their tack, complaining that they wouldn't be able to shut it down in the event of a conflict and that therefore the EU shouldn't build it. (In the end there was a bit of a compromise and Galileo was redesigned to allow localised jamming).

Notice the problem here? The US has pressured the EU on two conflicting lines of reasoning, which is a pretty good indication that we *can't* trust NavStar not to be shut down. To be honest, the fact that they have been pressuring the EU over this at all indicates that they have vested interests and are therefore not especially trustworthy.

Look, build whatever you want. It just seems like in this case the euros are just saying "me too" and building something because someone else built it never mind that its redundant.

What I don't get is the number of Americans, who have come out and said more or less what you have - complaining that the EU shouldn't be implementing stuff. Seriously: why do you care so much as to complain about it?

FWIW, I understand that Galileo will offer better-than-NavStar accuracy for all users, and that people who require greater accuracy will be able to buy a subscription to the service - this is something you can't do with NavStar, since the high accuracy service is limited to the US military only and not available for the public (or indeed, other militaries without the US's say-so).

Re:To what end? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45481251)

As to the conflicting arguments... that is a misunderstanding.

We said we wouldn't unilaterally disable the system in such a way that it would cause problems for European military or business interests. We certainly did not say we would never encrypt the system to lock anyone else out.

As to our complaint, our issue was that the system as designed didn't seem to have the ability for YOU to lock your own system in the even that you needed to do that.

We're your allies. We're not aholes. We told you that we wouldn't screw you and then you went and built a new system that was ultimately going to screw yourselves as well as us. So yeah... we pointed that out.

We're not evil or stupid. If we were evil we'd use our great power to enslave the world. We have tried if anything to do the opposite. As to stupid... You're likely using an Intel or AMD processor... both of which are American. And then you're likely using an operating system designed in the US. Even most of the linux distros are US in origin. Etc. We are not a stupid people.

We are your friends. Built whatever you like. Its your money. It just becomes hard to coordinate with you if you're using other systems that don't mesh with ours easily.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481517)

Governments don't have friends.
Furthermore the EU and the US don't even have the same strategic goals. We don't want, we don't need a military machine so big as to project power half way around the world. Our EU countries have a military whose size is commesurate to the kind of real threats we are likely to face in the future. Hint : it's not a global war with Russia.
The only countries in a e-peen contest are France and the UK (both old colonial powers that could never understand their glory days were past them). And yet they don't spend a fraction of what the US does on its military. Do we feel less safe because of it ? No we don't.
Another point : It's the US that doesn't want NATO dissolved. It was the fucking US that presured the EU to admit very rapidly the east european countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Thereby fucking up the whole EU project for decades. The US doesn't want an independent EU especially defense wise. Divide et Impera.
We don't need and we don't want to American defense umbrella. Who the fuck are you going to portect us from ? You're the only country in the world starting war left and right and creating bigger problems than the rest of the world combined. Diplomacy ? You don't even know what that word even means. Diplomacy for you is gunboat diplomacy.

Re:To what end? (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#45481921)

As to our complaint, our issue was that the system as designed didn't seem to have the ability for YOU to lock your own system in the even that you needed to do that.

That is a *good thing* - you can't expect people to rely on systems that are designed to be shut down on a whim. Designing systems to be robust and reliable promotes adoption (a good example of this is the Internet - it has proved to be extremely robust and has benefitted society massively because people know they can rely on it. I'm extremely unconvinced that the same would be true if it was designed to be shut down on a whim, especially with the corporate interests that are frequently involved in politics. Just imagine if the content industry had been able to convince a government to turn off the internet to stop piracy.).

We're your allies. We're not aholes.

Extremely debatable I'm afraid. Much of what the US government does certainly comes across as very "aholed", and much of the european population is unimpressed in the way european governments frequently bend over to accommodate that aholeness.

You're likely using an Intel or AMD processor... both of which are American.

How is that relevant? Intel can't decide they no longer like me and shut my computer down, as the US can do with NavStar. The worst they can do is stop selling processors to certain countries, which gives those countries a good few years to find an alternative.

And then you're likely using an operating system designed in the US.

I'm using Linux, which is developed as a global collaberation.

Even most of the linux distros are US in origin. Etc.

Really, no, they aren't. Most linux distributions are global in nature - they are sometimes sponsored by big companies, and those companies are sometimes, but not always, US companies (although usually with subsiduaries across the world), but the development happens world-wide. If Red Hat, for example, decided to no longer ship Fedora to Europe then that really wouldn't be a big deal because everone would just switch to an alternative distro. And again, Red Hat can't just go and switch off everyone's computer on a whim, the most they can do is just not provide any updates.

We are your friends. Built whatever you like. Its your money. It just becomes hard to coordinate with you if you're using other systems that don't mesh with ours easily.

*That* is exactly what people have been telling the US for decades, but the US frequently tends to ignore existing global standards and invent their own. The reason for this is that if you have standards that are incompatible with the rest of the world, it helps keep business local - people can't import equipment from the cheapest vendor, they have to buy from a US vendor because no one else is manufacturing stuff compatible with the US standards.

Take a good look at telco standards, for example: the ITU publish protocol standards which are then customised by national standards bodies. ETSI, for the most part just republishes the ITU specs unchanged. Conversely, ANSI changes things left right and centre - ok so a few of the changes are for good reason, but in my experience the vast vast majority of the changes are just doing pointless stuff like swapping the order of various bitfields in the packets, which serve no purpose beyond ensuring the US isn't compatible with anyone else.

Re:To what end? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about a year ago | (#45481781)

The accuracy available for all of Galileo is slightly better than regular GPS but as far as military level accuracy that is achievable without having access to the L2 data even with GPS but that requires multiple receivers. In ideal cases you can get about 2cm accuracy and with a wireless link do it in near real time for a roving unit. Again here the subscription Galileo system here is slightly better but the techniques used for RTK [wikipedia.org] and CORS [wikipedia.org] for GPS would also work with Galileo since they make use of the L2 carrier phase since the actual L2 data is encrypted. My state has even begun some trials of using CORS data for autonomous plow trucks as well as keeping buses moving properly on the shoulder of highways during rush hour (I found this out the a few months back) since a +- 2cm accuracy is plenty good for maintaining lane control

Re:To what end? (3, Insightful)

fredrik70 (161208) | about a year ago | (#45480997)

Maybe we do not want to be dependent on something so important that is not under our control?

Re:To what end? (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | about a year ago | (#45481207)

Were that the case you'd make some effort to not be so horribly dependent on the US for strategic military support.

You are... and you've made no effort to get out from under our umbrella. So long as you are under our umbrella the issue of GPS is so minor to your dependency that it isn't even a blip on the radar screen. Its nothing compared to that.

Imagine what would happen to EU diplomatic and political relations if the US withdrew from NATO and cut all ties.

What would your relationship be with Russia? With Iran? What would happen in Eastern Europe? What if the US just abandoned the whole Eurasian continental group and left you to deal with your own problems?

The US doesn't need help dealing with anything in the Americas. We're totally self sufficient for our own strategic security. You are not.

IF you were not only doing this GPS thing but also increasing your militarys and training all the EU nations in combined military drills then MAYBE you could make this claim about wanting to get out from under our umbrella. But you're not. So that makes no sense.

Re:To what end? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | about a year ago | (#45481435)

Were that the case you'd make some effort to not be so horribly dependent on the US for strategic military support.

That's because most european countries, those with no post-colonial involvements, do not need strategic military support. The iron courtain is no more. They have no precious resources inside their boundaries. They no longer invade other countries, nor they interfere with other countries' politics, and as a result they have no enemies. The "peace missions" that once in a while they partake of are only excuses to spend public money.

Re:To what end? (1)

nojayuk (567177) | about a year ago | (#45481489)

The only time NATO has fought under the treaty's Article 5, the "attack on one is an attack on all" umbrella was when the mighty US was laid low by a bunch of Saudis armed with boxcutters. If the US wants to get out from under the NATO umbrella, on you go but watch out for those scary Muslims with their oh-so-nasty knives! Papercut!

Re:To what end? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#45481859)

Don't admit to the Saudi connection. They are well-connected, are rich and control oil. We're supposed to pretend they were all from Afganistan.

Re:To what end? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481727)

Maybe we do not want to be dependent on something so important that is not under our control?

But you need to be able to run all this great Windows malware-- er I mean -- apps. No wait, what were we talking about?

GNSS (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#45480711)

I love how the fantastic article has both global satellite navigation system and global navigation satellite system. If I weren't such a grammar nazi, I might be able to actually read an article. Dammit, I just split an infinitive!

Re:GNSS (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#45481033)

Well, obviously, you need both. You'd like a GNSS (a system of navigation satellites) to help you navigate. But how will the satellites navigate themselves? They need an additional GSNS (system for navigation of satellites).

Re:GNSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481147)

So as the Romans used to say, who navigates the navigators? In Soviet Europe, navigation navigates you!

Re:GNSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481127)

Out of curiosity, since we aren't using latin/greek inflection these days, why does it matter if you "split" an infinitive in English?

Re:GNSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481657)

I posted the same thought, lets get the name and acronym to match...

Re:GNSS (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | about a year ago | (#45481829)

GNSS - Grammar Nazi Surveillance System

Global Tracking is only good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480805)

The Galileo system could be used in areas such as road safety, fee collection, traffic and parking management, fleet management, emergency call, goods tracking and tracing, online booking, safety of shipping, digital tachographs, animal transport, agricultural planning and environmental protection to drive growth and make citizens' lives easier."

Equally, it will be used for vehicle tracking for applying automatic fines, monitoring all movement of goods to people for directed advertising, monitoring the movement of all citizens for law enforcement, monitoring of workers for corporate management purposes, monitoring of all human activity for automated taxing purposes....

Welcome to the Goldfish Bowl...

awwww (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45480927)

European Geostationary Navigational Overlay Gri would have been a better name

Advantage over GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481239)

From the website: "By offering dual frequencies as standard, Galileo will deliver real-time positioning accuracy down to the metre range. It will guarantee availability of the service under all but the most extreme circumstances and will inform users within seconds of any satellite failure, making it suitable for safety-critical applications such as guiding cars, running trains and landing aircraft. "

This is something GPS, GLONASS does not offer... the ability to inform users that there is a satellite failure. This is a huge advantage. Because of this GALILEO can be used in the future in airplanes as a primary navigation system.

GNSS? (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year ago | (#45481357)

Plans to start up the EU's first global satellite navigation system (GNSS) built under civilian control,

Well, it's either a GSNS or it should be global navigation satellite system. Pick one please. To be fair, at least the editors were able to cut and paste accurately.

Acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45481613)

global satellite navigation system (GNSS) - Hum. Should it be the "global navigation satellite system or GSNS or the name and acronym match? Just askin?

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