Feeds

Galileo is military, EC admits

Wants extra taxpayer cash for satnav independent of US

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Galileo, the planned European sat-nav system, has been acknowledged as having a military role by the European Commission.

EC Transport Commissioner Jacques Barrot said yesterday that Galileo will be "civilian controlled...but there will be military users".

Under original plans, Galileo was to be more than half funded by private industry, but the EC's corporate partners have effectively declined to proceed due to fears over revenue. The US defense department's Global Positioning System (GPS) offers a good service for free, and private sector bosses doubted that users would pay for Galileo services even if they were somewhat enhanced.

As a result, the EC has been pushing for an extra €2bn of taxpayers' money in order to build the system itself. Many observers, including El Reg, have suggested that government funding for Galileo only makes sense in the context of European military action and infrastructure security, independent of the US.

This analysis has been lent support. The Financial Times reports that an EC paper for transport ministers says that no Galileo "would mean that the EU would be dependent on military/dual use foreign systems and technologies".

The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, also pointed to the Russian GLONASS constellation and Chinese plans for similar technology. The message seems to be that major-power governments should have their own satnav, just as they should have nuclear weapons.

"Moreover, Galileo is a pillar of the emerging European space policy and signifies Europe's ambitions in space, technology and innovation," said the EC position paper. Significant revenues from military users were reportedly foreseen.

This last prediction by the EC appears questionable, as the USA offers its NATO allies military access to the higher-precision encrypted "p-code" GPS signal. Just as with civilian GPS users, it doesn't seem especially plausible that European armed forces will want to pay for what they can get free.

The UK and Denmark are resisting any extra funds for Galileo, among others. However, Monsieur Barrot was reportedly confident his funding proposal would be passed by transport ministers on 8 June. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Special pleading against mass surveillance won't help anyone
Protecting journalists alone won't protect their sources
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.