‘Racist Technology’ Rejects Guy’s Passport Photo


Racism is an already too prominent problem with humans, but when computers start laying it on you? Well, that’s not an issue often seen.

That’s what happened to Richard Lee, a New Zealand citizen studying in Melbourne, Australia.

While trying to renew his New Zealand passport online, the automated system rejected his photo. Why? Because it thought his eyes were closed…

Subject eyes are closed…

Posted by Richard Lee on Monday, December 5, 2016

The message read: “The photo you want to upload does not meet our criteria because subject eyes are closed.”

The solution? ‘Retake the photo and make sure the eyes are open.’

Lee, who was born in Taiwan but grew up in New Zealand, contacted the Department of Internal Affairs shortly after to ask why his photo was not accepted.

A spokesperson told him the cause was ‘uneven lighting on the face’, Daily Mail Australia reports.

Eventually after getting a few done at the post office, one photo went through.

Posted by Richard Lee on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The screenshot was eventually posted on the page of Australian DJs Mashd N Kutcher on Facebook, who said they were a friend of Lee’s. But Lee said he’s not bothered by the incident.

He said:

The error message didn’t bother me that much, I saw the humor in it and obviously it’s a programming error in the recognition software.

Just a bit annoying with the delay and I’d expect to get a staff reply after 3 failed submissions.

Way to make light of it, Richard. Here’s to hoping technology isn’t actually taking a racist turn…