A new website opposed to the publication for profit has opened. That website is “Class Action against Mug Shot Websites.com.” While some of their information is not correct, they are attempting to gather more information and provide a complete picture of what the mugshot extortion racket is.
The following article was taken from one of their links.
“New Movement Emerges to Beat Down Mugshot ‘Racket‘
News reports from the past year show that, at least in some cases, the ‘reputation restorers’ are in cahoots with the mugshot websites
Lisa Loving Of The Skanner News
July 12, 2012
It’s one thing to get arrested and have your mugshot plastered across the Internet for all to see. But what if your booking photo gets posted to the web by an anonymous blogger along with a dose of racist, sexist humiliation?
Many people in this situation turn to “reputation restorer” websites, which often charge hundreds of dollars to “help” remove mugshots from the web.
Yet news reports from the past year show that, at least in some cases, the “reputation restorers” are in cahoots with the mugshot websites, creating what WIRED magazine calls “one of the latest niche industries on the web: the mug-shot racket.”
While state and county officials around the nation have traditionally thrown up their hands and called the mugshot website scam a free speech issue, one online community is working to build a movement persuading states to change laws limiting how private companies can profit from public documents.
Less than a month old, www.classactionagainstmugshotwebsites.com is slowly growing a base of support aimed at changing state laws on making a profit from public documents, and boycotting mugshot website advertisers until they drop their ads.
“We are going about this the legal way,” says Diana, an anti-mugshot website organizer from outside the Pacific Northwest who declined to be fully identified for this story.
“When you look at how many mugshot websites there are, and how many mugshots are in each site, the average right now is about $399 per mugshot to get it removed,” Diana says. “When you think that most mugshot websites are carrying 50,000 mugshots on each one, that’s quite a bit of money.
“You’re looking at millions and millions and millions of dollars,” she said.
For their part, mugshot website operators argue that they are performing a valuable public service by shaming miscreants and deterring others from criminal acts through fear of the commercial mugshot industry.
While law enforcement agencies have posted mugshots online for years, the profit motive for private websites has been boosted by a handful of factors: liberal “sunshine laws” mean most states consider mugshots to be public documents easily available online for free; the down economy – which has likely increased the number of mugshots overall as well as the number of out-of-work web code writers; and search engine optimization (SEO).
The issue of SEO use is especially crucial because it allows the website operators to tag the mugshots so that they consistently pop up at the top of search results for the arrestee’s name – creating a virtual ball-and-chain that can never be hidden from prospective employers or colleges or dating partners who go online.
Never – except when the desperate arrestees shell out cash to get the pictures removed, which can cost anywhere from $40 to more than $1,000. If your mugshot pops up on more than one site, the removal charges add up even faster.
This issue blew up in Kansas last week when a freshly-minted mugshot website appeared that offered a $199 take-down service right on the home page next to the mugshots themselves – considered a rare step, although a Portland website had already done something similar.
The Kansas City entrepreneur, Matthew Creed, also planned to send out snail-mail notices to the mugshot owners – and their neighbors — in envelopes printed with the mugshot and the words, “We know!”
Creed won even more headlines a few days after the Kansas City Star reported on his business; he’d received so many death threats that he closed the site and moved his wife and two kids out of the area, news reports said.
Which is why Diana says she doesn’t want to reveal her full name – she’s afraid of harassment from mugshot website supporters.”
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