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How did they get my mugshot?
The got the mugshot by accessing mugshots that are posted on public record sites and then re-posting them on sites that are ranked higher in Google search results. By doing so these malicious sites gain publicity and power.
The sites will usually remove the photos they post, for a fee. The fees can range from manageable to exorbitant, and paying them doesn’t offer any consolation or guarantee that your photos won’t be posted elsewhere within the hour.
Do mugshot removal sites work?
If the owners of the mugshot site get what they want, the photo of you will go viral and they will be able to charge you thousands of dollars to remove it. Hundreds of thousands of people, or more, could have that incriminating picture of you in their mind.
There are dedicated websites that provide services to remove mugshots from the sites that aim to extort individuals. However, these mugshot removal sites also charge money to have the mugshots removed.
One additional consideration about who is doing the "removal" of the mugshot is this: the company doing it may be in partnership with multiple mugshot companies. In other words, it could be a scam.
Still, if a mugshot is costing you a job, it might be worth it. Google unintentionally amplifies every little problem and makes it seem permanent. Paying the devil might be worth it in this case - it's up to you.
Laws governing the regulation of mugshot sites are considered state matters through the 10th Amendment, which means any power not specifically given to the Federal government falls in the hands of the states themselves. In other words, the states decide what is legal or illegal.
Laws about mugshot sites
If this is affecting you, it's important to understand the laws surrounding mugshot sites in your state of residence. Some state lawmakers have been making attempts to combat mugshot sites that overtly extort individuals.
For instance, Roger Bruce, a Georgia state representative, has pushed a bill that became law in 2013 that makes it a crime for a website to charge a Georgia resident for removal of a mugshot photo.
Individual websites are also becoming targets of the law, such as BustedMugshots.com, which faced a lawsuit filed by Ohio residents in 2013 for exploitation for commercial gain. The website no longer accepts money for photo removal and instead removes the photos at the individual’s request (hooray for the people!).
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