US researchers traced mobile phone signals at defense sites in Russia

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NEW YORK, Jul 19, 2020, TASS. A team of US academic researchers from the Mississippi State University tracked signals of mobile phones in Russia last year under the US Army-funded project, including in the area of the Russian Navy’s test range in Nyonoksa, Wall Street Journal reported in its electronic version on Saturday, TASS reported.

The group of US scholars together with graduate research assistants and undergraduate interns monitored movements of holders of mobile phones, who were present in Nyonoksa on the next day after the incident at the Russian Navy’s test range last August. According to the newspaper, GPS data indicated that phones later moved to Moscow, St. Petersburg and closed defense facilities in Severodvinsk and Archangelsk.

The newspaper reporters the US researchers implemented an experimental project aimed at demonstrating opportunities of using cellular communication data from the open sources for defense or intelligence needs. The newspaper refers to documents received from Mississippi State upon the request as to the source of its data.

Edric Thompson, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, which funded the project, said it was selected for military funding because it had “good potential use for being able for our soldiers to share information with each other,” Wall Street Journal says.

Researchers used the Locate X service developed by Babel Street, the company specializing in software for intelligence purposes, the newspaper reports.

The incident occurred at the military test site near Severodvinsk on August 8, 2019. Russia’s Rosatom corporation later said that a fire and explosion that followed during a missile test on a sea platform killed five of its employees and injured three others, who were taken to the hospital.

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