Germany bans digital doppelganger passport photos

Technology

FILE PHOTO: A specimen of the new German electronic passport is pictured under an ultraviolet light during its presentation to the media in Berlin, Germany, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will outlaw the ‘morphing’ of passport photos, in which pictures of two people are digitally combined, making it possible to assign multiple identities to a single document.

Morphing can trick artificial intelligence used at passport control into ‘recognising’ different individuals.

The government on Wednesday backed a law requiring people to either have their photo taken at a passport office or, if they use a photographer, have it submitted in digital form over a secure connection, spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics have found that it is possible to morph photos of the faces of different people who are not even related.

A certain degree of similarity is sufficient, such as the eyes being aligned. Such manipulation of photos is typically invisible to the human eye, the researchers found.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Alexander Smith

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