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U.S. Representatives Slam Plan to Run Emergency Calls Through Russian Satellites

U.S. congressional leaders are furious over a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to route location tracking on 911 emergency calls through Russia's satellite navigation system, Glonass, The Washington Times reported Thursday.

The proposal would make 911 tracking features dependent on the Glonass satellite network, a pet project of the Russian defense ministry intended to liberate Russia from its reliance on the U.S. GPS satellite navigation system.

"In view of the threat posed to the world by Russia's Vladimir Putin, it cannot be seriously considered that the U.S. would rely on a system in that dictator's control for its wireless 911 location capability," republican congressman Mike Rogers, chairman of the Armed Service subcommittee on strategic forces, wrote in a letter to the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence, according to the paper.

"Our response to Russia's hybrid warfare, arms control cheating, illegal invasions of sovereign nations, and energy-based extortion must be broad-based isolation and counter-leverage," Rogers said in the letter.

Russia-U.S. Relations are at a low point following Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year.

Mobile companies told The Washington Times that Russian navigation satellites are required to effectively locate callers in an emergency because GPS doesn't have the coverage to do it alone.

Moreover, Glonass is not the only system that will be used, Ray Rothermel, government affairs director at wireless company Sprint, said in a letter to the FCC obtained by The Washington Times.

This is not the first time that Russia's satellite navigation system has stirred up controversy in the U.S. In 2013, The New York Times reported that national security officials were looking into the risks of allowing Russia to install Glonass monitoring stations in the United States.

There were concerns that the stations could be used for Russian electronic eavesdropping on the United States.

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