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UK passport photo checker shows bias against dark-skinned women

 — 8 octobre 2020
Women with darker skin are more than twice as likely to be told their photos fail UK passport rules when they submit them online than lighter-skinned men, according to a BBC investigation.

The passport application website uses an automated check to detect poor quality photos which do not meet Home Office rules. These include having a neutral expression, a closed mouth and looking straight at the camera.

BBC research found this check to be less accurate on darker-skinned people.

More than 1,000 photographs of politicians from across the world were fed into the online checker.

The results indicated:

  • Dark-skinned women are told their photos are poor quality 22% of the time, while the figure for light-skinned women is 14%
  • Dark-skinned men are told their photos are poor quality 15% of the time, while the figure for light-skinned men is 9%

Photos of women with the darkest skin were four times more likely to be graded poor quality, than women with the lightest skin.

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