Asian Man’s Passport Photo Rejected: “Eyes Are Closed”

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A man of Asian descent from New Zealand had the photo for his passport rejected because facial recognition software mistakenly registered his eyes as being closed.

The automated passport photo checker system that New Zealand’s department of internal affairs uses told Richard Lee, a 22-year-old student, the photo he submitted was invalid because his eyes were closed, even though they were clearly open.


“No hard feelings on my part, I’ve always had very small eyes and facial recognition technology is relatively new and unsophisticated,” Lee told Reuters.

“It was a robot, no hard feelings. I got my passport renewed in the end.”

A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs said that up to 20 percent of passport photos submitted online are rejected for various reasons.

“The most common error is a subject’s eyes being closed and that was the generic error message sent in this case,” he said.

Lee’s response to the whole situation was quite humorous. He posted an edited picture online that shows him with magnified eyes and a caption that says “I hope they accept this one.”


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