Sentry is an application developed by Hala Systems that provided civilians with the popular sensor-based early warning system for air strikes during the protracted Syrian civil war.
Live Since 2016, the system has become more accurate and sophisticated using sensor networks, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to provide a solid technical foundation for on-site data analysis and critical alert dissemination. Sentry now sends an average of 140 early warnings each day, notifying residents of potential hazards in seven to ten minutes.
Data records for the alarm system include personalized notes and reports, such as aircraft notes, and sensors placed on trees or rooftops that collect audio data for analysis. In addition, neural network systems search local social networks for keywords that can provide additional clues about the time and place of potential attacks.
Today, the Sentry blockchain uses Ethereum to provide a distributed and secure means of verifying and storing metadata associated with these various data records, including geotags and timestamps. Blockchain technology has also been an important tool in trying to demonstrate that the input data was not subsequently tampered with.
This is especially important given that the real-time data on strikes and attacks Hala Systems collects in the future could become an important source of evidence for organizations seeking justice to correct war crimes in the future. As a private company where data storage can be a problem in this regard, Hala Systems has worked with decentralized technologies like Ethereum (ETH) to ensure that data fraud can be legally demonstrated.
In a letter to Cointelegraph, a Hedera Hashgraph spokesman said Hala Systems has now decided to discontinue using Ethereum in favor of the Hedera Consensus Service, having discovered that the former was not sufficiently secure against hacking. They explained:
“Hala Systems […] found potential (non-final) consensus from [Etherum], smart contracts with very variable fees and slow confirmation times that are inappropriate for their use.”
The company claims Hedera Consensus Service provides a more efficient and consistent storage chain for data embedded in the system and provides reliable third-party evidence of who, where and what happened.
“Hala Systems can provide real-world clues and accurate verification of when and where media is happening. Each event registered with the HCS is signed with camera unlock keys and receives a consistent time stamp for the entire Hedera network. ”
In addition to technology partnerships with Hedera Hashgraph, Hala Systems also works with the United Nations, the UK Foreign Office and Development Agency, the US Department of State and other foreign ministries. In an analysis of several attacks in northwest Syria since 2017, the use of the Sentry app found that “the net number of accidents due to airstrikes has decreased by an average of 10-30%.”
The Hedera platform itself is run by a board of directors, mostly private sector partners including Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, Google, IBM and Nomura, as well as University College London.