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Payment Providers And Google Will Kill The Mug-Shot Extortion Industry Faster Than Lawmakers Can

‘A picture lasts forever’ is likely not the thought going through a person’s head when he or she is being booked at the clink (well, unless that person is Lindsay Lohan). Yet mugshots have over the last few years taken on an Internet permanence thanks to a host of sites that use liberal public records laws to get their hands on mugshots and make them part of people’s Google footprints. The industry first started getting scrutiny two years ago when Wired highlighted a Florida mugshot site that made its money by publishing slammer shots and running ads alongside them, or worse, charging people to have them taken down. Full Article

Join the discussion

  1. Eric Knight

    Keep in mind it was the lawsuit initiated by Janice and CA RSOL that started the national debate on extortion sites in the first place. Even though much of the focus seems to be on non-RSO’s and their tribulations with these (in my opinion) felony-level criminals, it is the lawsuit that brought out the AP and Reuters’ stories. Without them, all other stories would have remained regional or local at best, and would not have attracted the attention to the search and payment enabler companies like Google and Paypal.

    Congratulation…another victory, even before the arguments are given! But go after them anyway and make them pay if feasible.

    • steve

      It was only a matter of time before the NON-RSO population who have been arrested in the past, started to figure out it really sucks to have your dirty laundry posted for the world to see. If it were solely rso’s complaining it would have never changed.
      I thank you drunks, druggies, white collar crooks and crooked POLITICIANS for attempting to end this practice of posting mugshots.

  2. David Kennerly

    For all of those convinced that corporations are the greatest threat to our civil liberties – and not government – this example brilliantly refutes.

    Are corporations often a beneficiary of government tyranny? Absolutely! Are they RSO’s greatest threat? Absolutely not!

  3. td777

    According to Google, they claim to have changed their algorithm to rank these sites lower, yet a a search for my name still brings up a mugshot from homefacts.com, a site whose very name is a farce and who is not included as one of the extortion sites even though it is, as the very first image. In other words, they have done almost nothing!

    We can hope these sites do what they claim, but I’m not holding my breath.

  4. A

    yup. my mug is right there on the first google page. Homefacts appears to be immune thus far.

    • Eric Knight

      Unfortunately, sites that are not considered extortion sites will be able to continue to post information.

      HOWEVER….

      They ARE breaking California Megans Law statutes, as technically the information on the state Megan’s Law site can only be distributed through accountable law enforcement sources. But that’s not part of the extortion suit.

    • steve

      That’s where a tiered registry comes in. Once you don’t have to register home facts has to take you down. Those other sites it doesn’t matter will post you forever.

  5. Janice Bellucci

    I highly recommend that individuals complain to Home Facts about their listings and educate that website regarding what Google and others are doing. They need to hear from individuals who are affected by these listings not just from attorneys who they believe are paid to speak out even when we are volunteers.

  6. Tim

    Once something is on the Internet, it’s practically on there for good. I’m still trying to get search providers to drop a fictitious business name I changed twelve years ago. I still get junk mail under that name. The courts seem to think registration is merely filling out some paperwork and see the Internet as some innocuous forum when it comes to being listed there. Ironically, the Internet is seen as supreme threat when your children are on it, or if some secret document the government doesn’t need you to see is posted. This is “unusual” to say the least, and cruel negligence to those people who lose jobs, are harassed and even killed because of a listing.

  7. Larry

    I hope they do kill the mug shot extortion industry.

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