UN telecom watchdog wags finger at Russia for satellite interference

European neighbors say interference comes from Moscow and Kaliningrad, Kremlin claims it didn't find anything

The UN's Radio Regulations Board (RRB) has asked Russia to play nice with Europe and not interfere with satellites.

The RRB, a part of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the telecom agency for the United Nations, held its 96th meeting [PDF] last week to discuss a number of topics, including alleged satellite interference several European countries suspect is coming from Russia. France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Ukraine all said they had experienced some sort of interference in the last few months.

The disruption has resulted in taking down broadcasts and even TV hijacking in two cases, which involved children's TV shows in the Netherlands being replaced with Russian war videos.

Although Russia has denied any knowledge of the interference, telling the RRB it hasn't detected any whatsoever, the evidence is stacking up against the country. The interference has largely targeted channels with Ukrainian programming, and Sweden claims it only started seeing meddling after it joined NATO.

Perhaps most damning of all, two satellite operators traced the interference to three sites: Russia's capital city Moscow, the Kaliningrad exclave next to Poland and Lithuania, and Pavlovka, though it remains unclear which Pavlovka, as there are more than one located in Russia.

Calling the interference "extremely worrisome and unacceptable," the RRB has told Russia to stop messing with the satellites, give the agency info surrounding Russia's internal investigation of the interference, and search the areas that the satellite operators say the interference originates from.

However, the agency softened its stance by saying it wouldn't grant requests made by France, Sweden, and the Netherlands to pursue the matter with a formal investigation just yet.

In the meantime, the RRB has asked Russia and its alleged victims to "exercise the utmost goodwill and mutual assistance" and to hold a meeting to discuss the dispute. It's not clear how effective this will be as Russia doesn't exactly have a stellar diplomatic reputation. ®


Russia has jammed GPS signals for hundreds of British RAF flights over Eastern Europe so far this year, according to former El Reg vulture Gareth Corfield over at The Telegraph.

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