Ever see an attractive person and wonder what he or she looked like naked?
Two porn websites have made that fantasy a reality, using facial-recognition technology to match user-submitted photos of people to porn stars.
But there doesn't appear to be any mechanism for consent on the part of the people whose images are submitted. And what happens if someone uses the matches to harass an ex-girlfriend, an ex-husband or a friend's mother?
Gee, you look familiar
"We think [facial] matching is the future and we stand behind it," Naughty America chief executive officer Eddie Arenas said when his company's "Face Match" feature went live in June. "What we've developed is a system where users can visually show us exactly what they want and then see similar images."
Face Match, available at face.naughtyamerica.com (the front page is safe for work), lets you upload, link to or email a JPEG file from a computer or mobile device.
It promises to find porn stars who look like the person whose photo you uploaded, along with links to images and video of those porn stars in business.
But there's a catch. We tried it using a public-domain photo of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but whether we used a URL link or a direct upload, the Naughty America site told us that "high domain volume" prevented the feature from working immediately.
Instead, the site wanted our email address in order to send us the matches. We don't want porn emails coming to us at work, so we stopped right there.
We took a look at some of the examples offered on the Face Match site. They weren't too convincing. Five matches were offered for "Call Me Maybe" Carly Rae Jepsen, but none really looked like her, other than sharing Jepsen's dark shoulder-length hair.
Meanwhile, the matches for a purported user's "hot neighbor" (clearly a model) were even further off — they couldn't even get the hair color right. And matches for shock-jock Howard Stern were all women.
The other service, the amusingly named SexFaceFinder (front page barely safe for work) also matches images, but this time the results are women on the other end of paid live-video-chat services.
"Upload any picture of your fantasy girl and find her HOT LIVE look-alike!" the site promises.
We again tried the recent secretary of state. While the picture uploaded correctly, no results were found. Perhaps there weren't any fifty-something black women with bobbed hair in the database.
So we turned to another familiar figure: Kim Kardashian.
Amazingly, the woman whose face has graced a thousand supermarket-checkout magazine covers has no matches on SexFaceFinder.
[ How to Beat Facial-Recognition Software ]
Who's nice, and who's naughty
Despite its failure at facial recognition, SexFaceFinder does have some advantages over Naughty America's Face Match.
Not only does SexFaceFinder let you upload PNG and BMP files as well as JPEGs, but it promises to "never save the pictures you upload," and doesn't pull a bait-and-switch to harvest your email address. Anyone can use it in complete privacy.
In that respect, as ZDNet's Violet Blue points out, SexFaceFinder is adhering to the Federal Trade Commission's recent recommendations regarding facial-recognition technology.
The FTC asks that companies using such technologies "develop reasonable security protections for the information they collect, and sound methods for determining when to keep information and when to dispose of it."
Naughty America might not be complying as closely. Several of its purportedly user-submitted examples appear to be of private citizens, who may not be aware they've been matched in public to porn stars.
In its Terms of Service for Face Match, Naughty America says that "You acknowledge that any content that you submit ... may be edited, removed, modified, published, transmitted and displayed by the Company and you waive any rights you may have in the material."
Futhermore, "The Company takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any content posted by you or any third party," and users affirm that "submissions to the site shall not represent or portray any person who is under the age of eighteen (18) years old or under the age of majority."
An email seeking comment from La Touraine, Inc., parent company of Naughty America, was not immediately returned.
"Let's hope no one finds out the hard way whether or not Naughty America and SexFaceFinder's databases are maintained with mechanisms in place to deal with false, inappropriate or misattributed data," Violet Blue wrote in her ZDNet posting.
But she may not have much reason to worry. As far as we could tell, Face Match has received a total of 27 submissions since it launched in June, and most of the images submitted have been of celebrities.
And while SexFaceFinder seemed to handle privacy issues properly, in our tests it just didn't work.