ATLANTA — They’ve become popular viewing on the Internet, but pretty soon those online arrest mug shot websites could get some handcuffs of their own from Georgia’s state legislature. Monday evening, the State Senate overwhelmingly passed HB150 by a vote of 53 to 0.
Sponsored by Rep. Roger Bruce (D-Atlanta), the bill would force those mug shot websites to take down photos of those who’ve been cleared without charging them for it. Full Article
Aside from charges dropped, false arrest, etc., many have had record clearances which should also be a valid criteria for being exempt from these pariahs. The states ought certainly to disclose this type of information on their own web sites so there can be measurement of sorts to delineate at another level – or better yet, use it as a valid criteria for exclusion from public disclosure.
Aside from the simple public shaming, and subsequent extortion attempts, these sites should be more regulated in every state if they rely on information provided by government agencies. One thing is public safety and whatever “good intentions” – however misguided – that government agencies claim, but another matter entirely is the blatant misuse of this information and the unnecessary harm to people way after the fact.
Using logic is in vain when imagining that a records clearance would be key information that states would use on their websites, but that is another inconvenient truth that flies in the face of the misinformation and subterfuge that is rampant in the public disclosure process. Repeating ad nauseum, until the states set the example for honesty and integrity, why should we expect more from those misusing the information downstream? This is yet another aspect of the myriad of problems we must tirelessly bring to the forefront when communicating with legislators.
I questioned myself about this bill. Even though I loathe the creators of these websites, I have to believe it would be hypocritical for me to think that lawmakers should create a new law that should be applied retroactively to these businesses that are already in operation.
Please don’t misunderstand me or call me a sympathizer towards these weasels; Like many other situations, including my own, I think we have enough laws to keep things in order. These businesses are already facing racketeering charges for extortion and God willing they’ll get what’s coming.
How about a petition? To Google, Bing, etc. to blacklist these sites. First Amendment does not protect extortion. With new sites coming weekly, many people would be interested in signing such a petition. Get some publicity, get some press, get Google to notice.
A well-crafted petition could do much. I’ve looked at a couple on change.org begging mugshots.c*m to cease operation. That won’t work. The way the sites exist is by feeding off their victims’ shame and vulnerability. People who are actually mostly normal, who make legal mistakes like normal people. Some are fiends, but that information is right there at the PD’s website, for the public to see if they want. These sites shame people by releasing what could be a secret, flooding Google with name, picture and arrest details for easy access by anyone, anywhere.
The only way these websites work is by monetizing those mugshots. They rely mainly on “pay to remove” revenue, rather than advertising or ad-clicks. This points to revenue generated from one person: The mugshot victim. This amounts to extortion. That’s why petitioning the sites directly won’t work.
Google’s stance would be different. They’re a public company, with shares traded, millions of followers and users. They’re very well branded and maintain a positive public image. They would consider the options, one being freedom of the internet, other being “illegal” sites once the definition of this type of site is thought out. Do you see many sites offering illegal activity? Once Google determines that this is not a First Amendment, freedom of internet issue, it’ll be free to kill their source links, whether to appease publicity or because the board voted to “do the right thing.”
These sites all need Search Engine results to survive. Close the spouts and they’ll soon dry up.
I support Georgia 100%. More states should pass similar laws and shut down these extortionists. Mugshots.com and all these “ticks” have made it impossible for falsely accused people to move on with their lives. No matter how much you send them paperwork of dismissal, nolle prosse or expungement, they DEMAND THEIR POUND OF FLESH worth $399+. If these people were really out to do a public service, they should remove mugshots after people have been exonerated – without cost.
It was the mugshot websites that REFUSED to do the right, fair and just thing. So now people had to go to the duly elected to protect their reputation. Can’t wait for all 50 states to do this. Mugshots in other than the hands of law enforcement is prohibited in several developed countries – USA should be no different. Go GEORGIA!!!