Washington, D.C.-based company SignalFrame has received $50K in grants from the U.S. Air Force to explore the potential military applications of a technology designed to track the location and identity of over 500M peripheral devices, Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 27.
The technology detects wireless signals from nearby devices by turning civilian smartphones into listening units.
SignalFrame obtains the data from tiny packets of software embedded into smartphones by commercial location brokers such as X-Mode.
According to the report, SignalFrame's data-collecting technology helped Verizon gauge the adoption of home WiFi routers.
The government and the U.S. military aim to support immigration and border enforcement activities and secure insights on potential targets and hot spots worldwide by using the data collection practices of the tech and advertising sectors.