Friday, February 16, 2007

The wonders of Europhilia

A quite remarkable illustration of how desperately doth the Europhiles cling to their little myths is offered in The Telegraph today, this one from Walter Blanchard, former adviser to the EC on satellite navigation.

Viz-à-viz the use of the free-to-user "Navstar" GPS system as the basis for road charging, he tells us that, "GPS (he means Navstar) cannot ever be used to enforce anything in this country because it is an American-owned, -operated and -controlled military system."

Er no. For sure, the system is operated by the military but, since 1996, the operational policy was defined by the Interagency GPS Executive Board.

Currently, it is managed by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee. This was established by Presidential Directive in 2004 to advise and coordinate federal departments and agencies on matters concerning the GPS and related systems.

The Executive Committee is chaired jointly by the Deputy Secretaries of Defense and Transportation. Its membership includes equivalent-level officials from the Departments of State, Commerce, and Homeland Security, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and NASA. Components of the Executive Office of the President participate as observers to the Executive Committee, and the FCC Chairman participates as a liaison.

Apparently unaware of this, former EC advisor Mr Blanchard goes on to say that, "America has repeatedly refused, rightly, to allow foreign participation, much less legally enforceable control (of Navstar). It advises civil users that it accepts no responsibility for its accuracy, availability or reliability, and it does not guarantee anything." He therefore concludes that:

It is quite obvious that, if this does not change, it will be impossible to make British law around it. This is the main problem that led to the initiation of the European civil-controlled system Galileo. Road-pricing enforcement using a satnav system will have to wait until Galileo is in fully certified operation, which perhaps may not be until 2020 or later.
Interesting that: "…2020 or later." It was supposed to be up and running by 2012 and Alexander wants road charging in place by 2015. Anyhow, as to the substantive point about enforcement – that simply does not compute. How is it that the Germans have a Navstar-based road charging system and are having no problems with enforcement?

If the letter to the Telegraph reflects the quality of advice Mr Blanchard had to offer, no wonder the Galileo system in trouble.


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