Friday, September 16, 2005

Today's Swipe at the News

No Smiling For German Passport Photos
Sep 15, 2005 3:24 pm US/EasternBERLIN (AP) Germans were ordered Thursday to stay serious when having their photographs taken for new passports, wiping away any grins, smirks or smiles so that biometric scanners can pick up their facial features.

Interior Minister Otto Schily ordered passport authorities to only accept pictures taken from the front showing the "most neutral facial expression possible," starting Nov. 1.Facial recognition systems match key features on the holder's face and work best when the face has a neutral expression with the mouth closed."A broad smile, however nice it may be, is therefore unacceptable," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. "If you are smiling, the border guards will think you are Dutch or Belgian."

Reaction among passport holders varied from "What's so hard about not smiling? I do it all the time." to "What's smiling?"

The German decision follows closely on the heels of the French law requiring passport holders to scowl contemptuously at all times and various laws throughout Latin America mandating males not to appear anything other than hot-blooded in their photographs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm.. is this news to you?

I had to renew my Canadian passport last year in order to fly from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, Ontario (don't get me started on why I had to have a passport to travel domestically!?!).

I was told not to smile. Basically they try to get you to look as miserable as possible. It was an awful experience.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

which is why I am putting off updating my passport --- I look like a goddamn terrorist when I don't smile!!

8:53 AM  

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