Distilled Identity and Emerge developing biometric self-sovereign identity system for refugees
Announced during the TCS and MIT Summit on Unlocking Human Potential with Blockchain & AI at the World Economic Forum, the companies are working to create an identity for forcibly displaced persons which is government-recognized. The Homeward platform compiles physical and behavioral biometric data to produce a smart contract which provides refugees with self-sovereign identity.
“With over one billion people in the world lacking a legal identity, and billions of personal records stolen for the purpose of identity theft, we need to reinvent the system to better serve the poor and dispossessed, while better protecting the developed world at the same time,” argues Distilled Identity Founder and CEO David Shrier. “Predictive analytics developed on top of a strong biometric identity layer can help deliver services to those who need it most.”
“Moreover, there have been 46 major world incidents resulting in the displacement of more than 151 million people globally during the last half century,” added Lucia Gallardo, founder of Emerge. “Less than 3 million of these refugees resettle within the year of their displacement, making this an unprecedented human crisis.”
Distilled Identity is the new name of Distilled Analytics, formed a partnership with Shyft in September to develop a solution combining multimodal biometrics and blockchain to combat identity theft, exploitation, and human trafficking.
UNHCR and UNICEF stats show that in 2017, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, 21 million of whom were identified as refugees. Nearly half are estimated to be under the age of 18, and less than 103,000 were resettled.
Homeward is intended to improve employability to leverage untapped strengths and dispel perceptions that refugee populations are a burden. It provides cities refugees are matched to with summary profiles of new residents to enable effective triage support services and accelerate independence with a customized welcome experience. The platform is powered by Distilled Predictive Identity, IoT security solutions, blockchain, and IBM Watson.
Phase one of the Homeward project’s pilot launch will begin in April, targeting two groups of refugees, one from Syria and one from Central America and the Caribbean, roughly 20,000 in total. Later phases will target cases related to natural disasters, homelessness, and other internally displaced populations, according to the announcement.