Biometric authentication, blockchain, and digital ID are at work in a region ravaged by a recent natural disaster, as facial recognition helps track people missing in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian.
This fall, as efforts continued to locate missing people and count the dead in the aftermath of Dorian, a blockchain-supported facial recognition missing persons database was launched
Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas in August and stands as that country’s worst natural disaster. At least fifty people died, and more than 7,000 people were initially reported missing. That number has reduced significantly, but estimates vary widely with the lowest ones around 200). This fall, as efforts continued to locate missing people and count the dead in the aftermath of Dorian, a blockchain-supported facial recognition missing persons database was launched.
The effort was backed by Truface, a computer vision company, in partnership with blockchain technology operator Bluestone Technologies, a startup based in the Bahamas. Though the Bahamas took the most damage from the storm, the effort is not limited to that island country and is being applied in the general area hit by Dorian.
Here’s how the process works, according to a Truface statement: Trueface uses its artificial intelligence, via the FindMeBahamas and CARICOM platforms, to help identify and account for missing people via facial recognition. The biometric authentication technology matches those missing people with storm victims who are found. Many storm victims have lost their identification documents, so those platforms provide them with unique six-digital ID numbers and digital identities. Those IDs are then run through the facial recognition databases — and via the Bluestone Caribbean blockchain network — as the effort to account for everyone continues.
“We are just starting to see the beginning of all of the possibilities and positive impacts facial recognition and computer vision technologies can play in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Dorian,” said Shaun Moore, co-founder and CEO of Trueface. “As we continue this partnership with Bluestone, we will be looking to expand these capabilities to other areas of the world that are suffering from the very same issues of loss of traditional forms of identification and inability to find missing persons.”
Blockchain-based digital ID is increasingly being used across the world for relief programs, and not only for disaster recovery, nor always involving facial recognition. One recent example comes from the Red Cross. Evernym, a company using distributed ledger technology for identity, said it working with the Red Cross and four other global nonprofit groups on a project designed to boost the use and power of digital ID for humanitarian purposes. The program is called Identity for Good initiative, or ID4G. The Red Cross and the other organizations will get ‘free access to the latest tools, technology, and expertise surrounding self-sovereign identity through the Evernym Accelerator Program,” according to the program’s website.