FB pixel

A year later and UK passport biometric face scan system still favors white males

A year later and UK passport biometric face scan system still favors white males
 

Almost a year to the day after media stories questioned bias in UK biometric face scanning systems, it appears little has changed.

A facial recognition photo checker deployed by the UK government for use in grading submitted passport pictures continues to reject more images of women with darker skin tones than anyone else.

The biometric algorithm is designed to accept or reject submitted images based on the UK’s quality and pose rules. Among other things, people must close their mouths, look at the camera and assume a neutral expression.

A BBC story quotes two women who took their own photos according to the regulations and submitted them only to have the software say they were of poor quality. The photo-checking app replied to one of the women with the following message: “It looks like your mouth is open,” when that plainly is not the case.

The BBC quoted a government spokeswoman saying that 9 million people have used the system, which is improving.

The publisher submitted more than 1,000 photographs of politicians around the globe to test out the biometric algorithm.

Twenty-two percent of dark skin-toned women’s photos were judged poor quality. Light-toned women’s images failed 14 percent of the time

Dark-skinned men’s photos failed 15 percent of the time; light-skinned men’s pictures failed nine percent of the time, according to the BBC.

Last October, the British government was forced to admit that the facial recognition photo checker had been deployed in 2016 despite the algorithm’s difficulty reading images of non-white males.

It was decided that its quality was good enough to deploy.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News

 

Biometrics developers dance with data privacy regulations continues

Biometrics controversy and investments are often found side by side, as seen in many of this week’s top stories on…

 

EU AI Act should revise its risk-based approach: Report

Another voice has joined the chorus criticizing the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act, this time arguing that important provisions of…

 

Swiss e-ID resists rushing trust infrastructure

Switzerland is debating on how to proceed with the technical implementation of its national digital identity as the 2026 deadline…

 

Former Jumio exec joins digital ID web 3.0 project

Move over Worldcoin, there’s a new kid on the block vying for the attention of the digital identity industry and…

 

DHS audit urges upgrade of biometric vetting for noncitizens and asylum seekers

A recent audit by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has called for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)…

 

Researchers spotlight Russia’s opaque facial recognition surveillance system

In recent years, Russia has been attracting attention for its use of facial recognition surveillance to track down protestors, opposition…

Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events