Distilled Identity, formerly Distilled Analytics, has announced a partnership with Emerge to co-develop the identity profile layer of an Identity Management and Intelligent Resettlement Platform for Refugees. The announcement was made during the TCS and MIT Summit on Unlocking Human Potential with Blockchain & AI, being held at the World Economic Forum.
The partnership sees Distilled Identity and Emerge working together to develop a government-recognized identity for forcibly displaced persons who find themselves in a stateless position, often at risk, and in transit. Named Homeward, the Emerge technology platform, compiles physical and behavioral biometric data into a smart contract in order to provide 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,” offered David Shrier, Founder and CEO of Distilled Identity. “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.”
The numbers don’t lie. In 2017 alone, according the UNHCR Annual Report for 2017 and UNICEF Brief of Children on the Move, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, with 21 million of those identified as refugees and less than 103,000 of those individuals resettled. To complicate this further, it is estimated that nearly half of these refugees are children under the age of 18 years old. There are 44,400 new displacements daily. More than 70,000 new stateless children are born every year in the 20 countries hosting the world’s largest stateless populations.
“In addition to their present circumstances, displaced people often face another challenge as they are unable to present themselves as valuable contributors to a host country,” added Gallardo. “Homeward’s focus on employability potential allows every claimant the opportunity to leverage untapped strengths and dispel the burden narrative by making a match.”
Homeward provides matched cities with a summary profile on their new residents, to ensure officials can better triage support services and provide a customized welcome experience conducive to quicker independence. By factoring in more cities, the platform can help disperse claims away from overburdened sanctuary cities while allowing other cities to benefit from the potential influx of talent. The technologies that power the platform include Distilled Predictive Identity, IoT Security Solutions, Blockchain, and IBM Watson.
Specifically, Homeward includes a multi-layered identity profile made up of physical biometric data, employability potential and socio-cultural preferences data, behavioral biometrics, geospatio-temporal data, and a smart contract based public key infrastructure to form a unique, self-managed digital ID for each primary claimant. A claimant’s employability and preferences data are used to determine a match to an optimal city for resettlement. Other factors included in determining the optimal match include destination city quotas, destination city’s cultural community sizes, population density, local economy data, age dependency ratios, and family size (to ensure families stay together).
Pilot launch phase one of the Homeward Project will begin in April 2019, targeting approximately 20,000 refugees, pulling half of these displaced from the conflict in Syria and the other half to include economic migrants from Central America and the Caribbean. Later phases will pull another 10,000 refugees from each circumstance of natural disasters, homelessness, and other internally displaced populations.