ImageWare Systems launches IWS Disaster Management solution suite

Published 26 July 2006

One of FEMA’s Katrina-related failures has to do with the massive fraud — worth more than $1 billion — perpetrated by thousands of people against the agency’s Katrina relief fund; ImageWare offers a solution to reduce such fraud in the wake of future disasters

These are grim numbers: During the past ten years the number of natural and technological disasters has risen, with the average number of people affected reaching 303 million and with damage estimated at $67 billion per year in the United States alone, according to an International Federation of Red Cross World Disaster Report. In 2005, for example, the United States suffered one of its worst natural disasters in history, a disaster made worse by the staggeringly inept performance of the Bush administration.

Hurricane Katrina caused billions of dollars in damage and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, but there were other problems. FEMA, eager to distribute as much relief money as quickly as possible to as many storm victims as possible, relaxed verification and authentication measures, with the result that more than one billion dollars in relief money went to people with fraudulent claims or to pay for things that had nothing to do with Katrina (the most famous case was one in which an individual had his sex change operation covered by FEMA relief funds).

San Diego, California-based ImageWare Systems (AMEX:IW), a developer and provider of identity management solutions, has a lot of experience in the development of large-scale public and private identification and ID management related programs, programs which addresses precisely the challenges of reducing fraud and improving the identification and verification processes. The company has just launched its IWS Disaster Management solution suite. It is an identity management solution suite which incorporates ImageWare’s IWS Biometric Engine and Identity Management technologies for secure credentialing of first responders and volunteers, biographical and biometric identification of displaced victims, and the ability to conduct comprehensive biometric and text-based searches to help identify missing and deceased victims. IWS Disaster Management operates at any scale, from state and local to regional, national, and international disaster levels. If you are involved in disaster management in your locality or state, you may want to give it a look.