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Old July 15th, 2008, 08:08 PM
tr cruiser tr cruiser is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 397
Default GPS receiver in Russia - Nyet!

Thought I'd mention this for anyone traveling to Russia on a Viking River Cruise. I intended to bring my GPS receiver along to track our position on the waterways and within the metropolitan areas. Then I discovered this travel advisory on the US State Department site.
The importation and use of Global Positioning Systems and other radio electronic devices are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. In general, mapping and natural resource data collection activities associated with normal, commercial, and scientific collaboration may result in seizure of the equipment and/or arrest of the user. The penalty for using a GPS device in a manner which is determined to have compromised Russian national security can be a prison term of ten to twenty years. In December 1997, a U.S. citizen was imprisoned in Rostov-na-Donu for ten days on charges of espionage for using a GPS device to check the efficacy of newly-installed telecommunications equipment. He and his company believed the GPS had been legally imported and were not aware that Russian authorities considered nearby government installations secret.
It's ten years old, but I found out about it on a GPS board where someone reported a similar occurence in 2006. A friend he was traveling with carelessly pulled out his GPS receiver in view of some state police. They informed him that he could either surrender it there or accompany them to the station. This was probably more of a shakedown than a security violation, still a stranger in a strange land must be careful... And I almost packed my Garmin.
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