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Operators of Fee for Removal Site Mugshots.com Charged Criminally

     
2:20 pm on May 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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From the Office of the California Attorney General [oag.ca.gov ]

SACRAMENTO California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced charges of extortion, money laundering, and identity theft against four defendants who are allegedly behind the exploitative website Mugshots.com. The website mines data from police and sheriffs' department websites to collect individuals' names, booking photos and charges, then republishes the information online without the individuals' knowledge or consent. Once subjects request that their booking photos be removed, they are routed to a secondary website called Unpublisharrest.com and charged a "de-publishing" fee to have the content removed. Mugshots.com does not remove criminal record information until a subject pays the fee. This is the case even if the subject had charges dismissed or had been arrested due to mistaken identity or law enforcement error. Those subjects who cannot pay the fee may subsequently be denied housing, employment, or other opportunities because their booking photo is readily available on the internet.

"This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else's humiliation," said Attorney General Becerra. "Those who can't afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple."


I've been waiting for the hammer to be dropped on this and related business models - ones that profit by exploiting bad news or bad reviews, particularly bad news or reviews that turns out to be false, fake, trumped up. In the era of abundant fake news, rumor mongering, spin, etc. its predictable that people will eventually say "Enough!" Not everyone is subject to 1st Amendment rights . . to be an attacker of others ~political candidate attack ads.

All it takes is one smart attorney general to get the ball and chain rolling.
3:27 pm on May 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That is evil.
6:40 pm on May 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've considered a similar business model but instead of mug shots... Baby Photos.

I'll scrape the archives of hospitals and publish those embarrassing pics when you were Naked and Crying!
6:47 pm on May 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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No matter the domain, I think that no one should have to pay to be delisted, removed, erased, etc...

In fact, sites should pay to have the right to use YOU
8:45 pm on May 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One thing to share public information. Another thing to attach extortion to it. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
4:27 pm on May 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This just keeps getting more interesting. Arrests are now being made along with extradition requests (to extradite those arrested to California for prosecution).

It's being reported that one of the Mugshots.com partners, who has now been arrested, was a very well know domainer, one who was the subject of a feature article in DNJournal.

That source: [dnjournal.com ]

Is it not the very definition of irony that the owners of Mugshots.com will now find their mugshots online?

Karma is another word that comes to mind, a/k/a "just desserts".
11:09 pm on May 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I suspect this 15 minutes of fame might turn into 5 to 10.