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Missing Person Identification Facial Recognition Program

The SOS Disappeared Association launches a volunteering initiative that promotes the search for missing persons through facial recognition. A pioneering initiative in Spain that, in addition to promoting the value of solidarity, is characterized by respect for the privacy and individual liberties of citizens.

The operation is simple: those citizens who wish to collaborate should only join the Google Photos album with images of missing persons that has been created by the Association and send those images to when the facial recognition system, available for Android smartphones, has identified a missing person. When the latter happens, the application will define the person being searched for as a new contact. Subsequently, once the snapshot has been received by SOS Desaparecidos, its members will immediately and privately. Report it to the State Security Forces and Corps.

According to the Association, the creation of this new search procedure is due to the fact that Google Photos has 2,000 million users worldwide and respects their privacy, since no other Internet user can access the gallery of images of these people. That is why it will be the volunteers themselves who will have to send to SOS Desaparecidos those photographs in which the facial recognition system has identified missing persons. In addition, another of the advantages highlighted by the organization is that the album hardly consumes any memory in their devices as it is stored in the cloud.

We understand that the right to life is the origin of all other rights," says the president of the SOS Disappeared Association, Joaquín Amills, who also highlights the importance of continuing to improve search processes: “Science advances, and with it also the way to search for those who have disappeared. It is clear that our memory is limited, but technology can process and identify thousands of faces. I am convinced that if we use these advances responsibly, we will be able to resolve cases sooner and with better results for the families and the disappeared persons themselves.”

The president of SOS Desaparecidos also points out that the Association will share the link to the album with those responsible for other international entities that SOS Desaparecidos collaborates with in search programs, both in Europe and in other parts of the world: "With this we intend to increase the possibilities that a person who is missing outside our borders can be located, in addition to continuing to promote the value of solidarity”. In this sense, the Association also invites organizations from all over the world that have among their main purposes the location of missing persons to join this initiative: "In less than ten minutes an entity from Germany, Brazil or India could create an album like the our so that their volunteers can help them solve disappearances. Of course, from SOS Desaparecidos we are willing to guide them in whatever is necessary”, says Joaquín Amills.

The Association highlights that they are also participating in the LOST2 project. The objective of the project, financed by the Erasmus+ National Agency, is to develop an innovative training itinerary aimed at creating a new professional figure specialized in the search for missing persons at a European level and, therefore, request at the European level and in each State of the project partners to request the recognition of the professional qualification, for the relative certification of competences, and the inclusion in the catalog of the training offer between different countries.

Regional Agency for Employment and Learning – ARLAB (Italy) – SIULP Perugia (Italy) – OMNIS (Italy), EUROMASC AS (Norway), Association SosDesaparecidos (Spain), European Technical and Vocational Education and Training Forum (Belgium), P-Consulting (Greece), The Childs Smile (Greece), Portuguese Association of Missing Children (Portugal). The problem of disappearances at a national and European level demands the planning and development of this type of initiative. In 2021, in Spain there were 22,285 reports of disappearances, with 5,411 still active as of December 31 of that same year. Likewise, every year 300,000 European citizens disappear in Europe. 100,000 of these are children and adolescents.

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