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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.