02 December 2013

Mug shots as "legalized extortion"

From a report in the StarTribune:
The unflattering crime mug shot, taken in the starkest light at someone’s lowest moment, has become big business.

Dozens of websites that comb through law enforcement releases of booking photos or mug shots of those arrested have developed a brutally efficient business model: If you want your photo removed, be prepared to pay up...

There are now dozens of such for-profit mug shot websites, and they work like this: Website operators gather mug shots — which are public records — from law enforcement agencies at little to no cost. The operators then post the photos online and refuse to take them down unless a fee is paid that ranges from $50 to $1,800. They do not update records just because charges are dropped or cleared. Instead, they protect themselves from liability by adding caveats such as “Innocent until proven guilty.”

The practice has become so widespread that it’s drawing the attention of Minnesota legislators, who are looking at ways to rein in the mug shot publishing industry without infringing on freedom of speech or information.
Details and discussion at the link.


  1. A recent story in NY Times about this, here is link

  2. Man, there seems to be no bottom to the depths of scumbaggery people will get up to. My brother-in-law went through this nightmare years ago after having been mistakenly ID'ed by someone as a carjacker. It took him almost 5 years to finally get his picture removed from all websites, and cost him two jobs even though he had a letter from the DA confirming that it wasn't him.


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