Trueface is hoping its facial recognition technology can help find missing hurricane survivors in the Bahamas. The company has partnered with the Bahamian blockchain startup Bluestone Technology to create a FindMeBahamas missing persons registry, which will use facial recognition to identify the people found as rescue workers continue to sort through the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
FindMeBahamas is part of a broader FindMeCaricom network, which includes 27 other Caribbean countries in addition to the Bahamas. The site allows concerned friends and family members to upload personal information and photos of a missing loved one, as well as an emergency number to contact if that person is found.
“We wanted to use our ability to connect the countries of the Caribbean and provide a safe, interoperable space for families to find members after the natural disasters,” said Bluestone Co-Founder and CEO John Bridgewater, whose grandmother went missing after the hurricane.
“We are just starting to see the positive impacts facial recognition and computer vision technologies can play in the wake of disasters like Hurricane Dorian,” added Trueface Co-Founder and CEO Shaun Moore.
Those reported missing will be assigned a unique 6-digit electronic ID number, which will help to create a record of people who have lost their possessions – and their identification documents – in the wake of the storm. At the moment, more than 4,300 people are still unaccounted for in the Bahamas.
The FindMeBahamas registration form does not seem to ask people to prove their relationship with the missing individual, which could raise issues of consent somewhere down the line. However, the decision is at least somewhat understandable given the dire nature of the situation and the disruption to the country’s traditional identity infrastructure. A more rigorous screening process could be prohibitively time-consuming while searching for survivors.
With that in mind, the partnership seems to satisfy Trueface’s ethical guidelines, which stress that facial recognition technology should be used responsibly and for the benefit of humanity. The company indicated that it is hoping its technology can be used towards disaster relief and missing person efforts in other parts of the world.
October 7, 2019 – by Eric Weiss