A group of parents affected by parental kidnappings have developed a app to make it easier for children to find their “lost” parents, a technology that Ukraine has decided to adopt in the face of family dramas unleashed by war.
What began as an idea to leave a certain digital trail that would allow his daughter to find him became a more ambitious project that seeks “give some hope” to the families that have been forcibly separated, the promoter of the Find My Parent app, the American Enrique Gutiérrez, told EFE.
The restrictions due to the pandemic in 2020 were the trigger for the creation of the application, launched this year worldwide for Android and iOS systems and several thousand downloads have been registered.
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Together with Gutiérrez, the Find My Parent project is led by the child and humanitarian activist Deanielle Dawra and the Frenchman Vincent Fichot, one of the most visible faces in recent years in activism against parental kidnappings after his Japanese ex-wife took her two children under lax Japanese legislation, an experience she shares with Gutiérrez.
Although Find My Parent was originally designed to help children abducted by a parent find their other parent, its creators see family separations at the US border as a potential tool for use in the search for victims of trafficking. or refugee camps.
The app is basically a matchmaking app, but the search structure works in reverse.
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When creating a profile, the parent must specify that they are looking for someone and enter all the information they know about that personwhile the child searching for its parent must fill in the fields with information about itself.
“I thought it would be a great idea if there was an app where the child could enter information about the family they know and could find me”In short, the search is carried out “through the people the child knows”says Gutierrez.
The form has many fields: name of birth, date, the name of the doctor who attended the delivery, the number of the birth certificate, educational institutions, place of work of the parents, health insurance number, pet names, last places of residence, names of relatives, etc.
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In addition to text, the app has facial recognition. It is possible to upload photos and search for matches by face and even by environments, to determine the places where they were taken and look for possible links between the people who have them.
The difference with other matchmaking applications or social networks, often used for this type of search, is that this information is not public or visible. It is an artificial intelligence that is responsible for finding matches through the data stored in servers in the WebSocket cloud.
Thus, the application does not allow a “active search”.
When the AI detects a high percentage match between two profiles, a notification is sent, but only the younger user, presumably the child, can make contact.
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These features seek to keep potential sexual predators or human traffickers at bay. Suspicious activities such as repeatedly changing data to force a match will lock the account and alert administrators, and it may be removed.
Also, parents can only initially use the app via invitation. For children, access will be free and universal, since it is, after all, “an app where kids can find their parents”they point out.
A VERSION FOR UKRAINE
In a first step for its expansion, Gutiérrez, Dawra and Fichot signed a collaboration agreement with the Ukrainian police on Thursday for the deployment of the application in that country.
It will do so through a customized version called Reunite Ukraine that differs from Find My Parent mainly in that law enforcement will have access to the database.
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With their use they seek to speed up and improve the reunion of families separated by the war that broke out last February, both refugees and those who were forcibly separated.
The conflict “has generated an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Ukraine: many families have lost loved ones, been separated, lost or forcibly deported to Russia”says the member of the European Parliament Petras Austrevicius, who has been supporting the project.
Such an application can contribute to “Give them hope to rebuild their lives”. Paradoxically, the first engineers hired by Gutiérrez to start developing the original app were Ukrainians.
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