A New Zealand man had his passport photograph rejected because facial recognition software thought his eyes were closed.
Passport photo-checking service tells Asian man to open eyes
Richard Lee, who is of Asian descent, submitted his picture to an official online photo checker run by the country’s internal affairs department. The automated software rejected it because it said the 22-year-old engineering student’s eyes were closed when they were clearly open.
It informed Mr Lee: “The photo you want to upload does not meet our criteria because: Subject eyes are closed.” It said he had nine more attempts to take an acceptable picture.
Mr Lee posted on Facebook: “No hard feelings on my part, I’ve always had very small eyes and facial recognition technology is relatively new and unsophisticated. “It was a robot, no hard feelings. I got my passport renewed in the end.”
Up to 20% of passport photos for online applications are rejected for various reasons, according to an internal affairs spokesman. He said: “The most common error is a subject’s eyes being closed and that was the generic error message sent in this case”. The lighting in Mr Lee’s first photo was uneven, but a later one was accepted, he added.