Eyes wide shut: 'Racist' facial software rejects man's photo

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Johannesburg - New Zealander Richard Lee has earned overnight internet fame after his passport photo was rejected by a computer that mistakenly thought his eyes were closed.  

Born in Taiwan but raised in New Zealand, Lee who is studying in Melbourne, Australia was renewing his passport before going back home.

However, the passport renewal software stated that the photo he uploaded did not meet the requirements and displayed a message saying: “Subject eyes are closed”..

Bur from the image Lee uploaded, the 22-year-old’s eyes were clearly open. 

Lee uploaded a screenshot of the image to Facebook on Tuesday, from where it subsequently went viral with numerous news organisations across the globe reporting on the story.

It has been reported that Lee contacted the Internal Affairs Department and saw humour in the incident, rather than taking offence.

Responding to a query from a Facebook Friend about whether his issue was resolved, Lee said: “They were really efficient actually, 18 hours from processing to sending down from Sydney. Received it this morning.”

Shortly after his newfound fame, Lee created a Life Event on Facebook titled 'Gone Viral'.


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