New Zealand passport photo checker 'racial bias'
Occurred: December 2016
22 year-old Kiwi engineering student Richard Lee had his passport application denied by a facial recognition system that interpreted his eyes as closed, prompting accusations of racism. Lee, who is of Asian descent, had his eyes open.
Lee, who was born in Taiwan and is a New Zealand citizen, had been trying to renew his passport after spending time in Australia. He was forced to get new passport photos taken at an Australia Post office, of which was subsequently approved.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs responded to the incident by telling journalists the software was 'one of the most technologically advanced in the world' and that 'Up to 20 per cent of photos submitted online are rejected for a large variety of reasons.' It refused to reveal the name of its supplier.
Operator: New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs
Published: Augst 2023