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Biometrics are helping to identify victims of Hamas attack in Israel

Corsight facial recognition deployed in hospital
Biometrics are helping to identify victims of Hamas attack in Israel

Since Hamas launched its attack against Israel, the number of victims has been rising. The identification of the dead and wounded has proven to be a difficult task, with less than a third of the casualties formally identified. The police, military, and hospitals, on the hunt to quickly identify the victims, have turned to facial recognition from Corsight AI to help.

An article in i24 News reports that as of Oct. 12, 2023, 1,076 bodies had been recovered. Of the 854 deceased civilians, only 361 had been formally identified, whereas all 222 soldiers killed were identified.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) can quickly identify soldiers using its comprehensive database, which includes DNA samples, fingerprint biometrics, and photos of each soldier. However, the identification of civilians is more complex because the civilian biometric database in Israel is incomplete and doesn’t provide sufficient verification of identity for burial. The IDF is, therefore, striving to combine the military and civilian biometric systems to enable accurate and quick identification of the dead.

The IDF hopes to bury the victims before the Sabbath on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2023, to respect Jewish religious law. To shorten the identification process, the IDF has begun creating biometric databases of photos, fingerprints, DNA and teeth.

Injured victims have poured into local hospitals, like Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, which Forbes reports is using facial recognition from Corsight to help family members locate their missing loved ones. Corsight has provided the technology to the hospital for free.

When family members send in photos of their missing loved ones, Corsight AI’s technology checks for matches against images of patients. The software can recognize a person, even if their features have been impacted by physical trauma.

This isn’t the first time facial recognition has been used to identify individuals injured or killed in wartime. Reuters reported last year that Ukraine used software from Clearview AI to identify deceased Russian soldiers. The aim, in that case, was to show relatives in Russia what Putin’s invasion had caused, serving as a part of Ukraine’s information war. Additionally, after the earthquake in Turkey that killed 50,000 earlier this year, local media reported that facial recognition helped reunite children with their parents.

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