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Israel is using Amazon Rekognition to locate missing and dead

Israel is using Amazon Rekognition to locate missing and dead

Amazon’s facial recognition system Rekognition is being used in Israel to locate missing and dead after a deadly attack by Palestinian Hamas two weeks ago.

Since the assault, the project, which was kickstarted by volunteers, has been able to identify some 60 missing people and provide leads on an additional five people. A team of AI and cybersecurity experts wrote a code for trawling social platforms, such as Telegram, Twitter and TikTok, gathering images and video from the attack. They then used Amazon’s Rekognition to compare these images to a database of photos provided by the Israeli government and families of the missing persons.

Participating in the initiative was also Israeli image analysis startup Tagbox.

Initially led by Refael Franco, former deputy director of the Israeli government’s National Cyber Directorate, the identification efforts have now been handed over to Israeli Defense Forces. The project was handed off to the Israeli government as it collected sensitive data that should not be shared with civilians, Franco told Forbes.

Two weeks ago the BBC revealed it used Rekognition in its attempt to identify perpetrators of the attack.

Amazon is not the only company whose technology is being used to track down victims of Hamas violence. The police, military and hospitals have been using facial recognition from Corsight AI to identify victims.

The Israel Defense Forces have begun creating biometric databases of photos, fingerprints, DNA and teeth in order to speed up identification efforts. The agency already has a comprehensive biometrics database of its soldiers. However, the identification of civilians is more complex because the civilian biometric database in Israel is incomplete.

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