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Passport photos often make us cringe – not least because we can’t soften the image with a smile.
But pulling an unnatural straight face for the camera can also make people less recognisable and distort facial features, according to scientists at Glasgow University.
They concluded that passport photos, which require “a neutral expression and your mouth closed” may not be accurate enough to spot imposters at border controls.
In the experiment, researchers subtly altered the faces in a range photos.
Participants believed the altered photos were of different people and could only spot it was the same person if the face was instantly recognisable – such as a celebrity.
Launched in 2006, biometric passports contain facial information, such as the distance between the eyes and nose, which can then be used to identify the holder.
But lead researcher, Dr Rob Jenkins, suggested such technology needs upgrading.
He said: “The experiments showed that faces and facial photographs cannot be considered to be representative of each other.
“Facial recognition must start to consider not only how to tell people apart, but also how to spot the similarities.” - Daily Mail