UK Passport Photos?

UK-Passport-Eye.jpg

2008 and UK passport photos now have the left eye ‘removed’ to be stored on a biometric database by the government. It’s a photo that seems to say more to me about invasion of human rights and privacy than any political speech ever could.

Really? This is a really creepy image. Does anyone know if this is for real, and if so, where we can read more?

Photo: Alan Cleaver2000

8 thoughts on “UK Passport Photos?

  1. I received a new UK passport, complete with RFID, two weeks ago. Both eyes present and correct…
    Sounds like BS; why would you “remove” the eye from the main photo in order to store it in a biometric database? Likewise, are passport photos high enough resolution to recognise the iris reliably? I very much doubt it…
    Nik

  2. Sounds bogus to me… I received a new RFID UK passport on 14th June and it has both eyes present and correct in the photo.
    Why would you remove the pixels from the image to store it on a separate database? Is the image on a passport photo (which is pretty small…) high enough resolution for iris recognition? I very much doubt it…
    Nik

  3. This is about as accurate as any of the scare fiction that the NO2ID campaigners spread these days. This is all about the art of psychological warfare: fear, uncertainty and doubt. If you run out of hard and plausible arguments in your fight, go and attack using some emotion-triggering imagery. It works remarkably well.

  4. Technically: While it is possible to do decent iris recognition from normal high-res photos (see Daugman’s “Afghan girl” page for an example), for good results you preferably want the iris to be at least 200 pixels diameter and recorded in near infrared with standardized illumination. Therefore, if you get enrolled into an iris database, you will be asked to look to a separate iris camera to get a good picture. For best results, try to open your eyes wide, otherwise the algorithm has to mask off lots of pixels that only show eye lids and eye lashes from the usable part of the image. That’s clearly incompatible with the “neutral expression” that the authors of face recognition algorithms prefer.
    Anyway, I’ve not yet seen any announcement that the UK (or any other EU country) plans to put iris data onto the passport. In the EU, only Germany is currently putting additional biometric data beyond the traditional photo onto the passport chip (since Nov 2007), and they have decided to go with two fingerprints rather than iris images.

  5. Ha, that’s funny. It’s like a modern pirate look. I don’t find it creepy at all. Curious what happens for people who have no left eye or a patch?

  6. Just noticed in the original post it has this update:
    “Sadly yes. I didn’t believe it at first but I’ve seen a colleague’s new passport that has the eye cut out (it’s then actually stuck on the next page!). Very sinister.”
    Moved to the next page? What is next, pop-up art passports?

  7. Just noticed the original post has this update:
    “Sadly yes. I didn’t believe it at first but I’ve seen a colleague’s new passport that has the eye cut out (it’s then actually stuck on the next page!). Very sinister.”
    Moved to the next page? What comes next, pop-up art passports?

  8. Just noticed the original post has this update:
    “Sadly yes. I didn’t believe it at first but I’ve seen a colleague’s new passport that has the eye cut out (it’s then actually stuck on the next page!). Very sinister.”
    Moved to the next page? What comes next, pop-up art passports?

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