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(AZ Family)   The bad news is more and more websites are publishing people's mugshots even if they're never convicted. The good news is the websites are willing to take the mugshots down. For a fee   (azfamily.com) divider line 90
    More: Asinine, Berkman Center for Internet & Society  
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3496 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Jun 2013 at 8:50 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-06-24 08:20:34 AM
21st century extortion right there
 
2013-06-24 08:55:43 AM
that's not really "good" news
 
2013-06-24 08:56:13 AM
The First Amendment gives people the right to do this

Even ignoring the absurdity of continuing to lean absolutely on a document that's so old it was irrelevant to certain situations even a century ago, I don't see how that's true. The only reason these sites even exist is to attack the integrity of of its victims. It's libel, plain and simple. Just because the information is public doesn't mean you're free to use it in any way you want without consequences.

It would be great to see a class action develop against them.
 
2013-06-24 08:56:54 AM
Google and other search engines could stop the practice now by delisting them... they won't.
 
2013-06-24 08:58:38 AM

skozlaw: The First Amendment gives people the right to do this

Even ignoring the absurdity of continuing to lean absolutely on a document that's so old it was irrelevant to certain situations even a century ago, I don't see how that's true. The only reason these sites even exist is to attack the integrity of of its victims. It's libel, plain and simple. Just because the information is public doesn't mean you're free to use it in any way you want without consequences.

It would be great to see a class action develop against them.


How is it libel? The person was arrested, that is all the site says.

Farkers seem to enjoy the smoking guns mugshot roundup. How is that different?
 
2013-06-24 08:59:41 AM
Nothing suing for slander wouldn't fix.
 
2013-06-24 09:02:01 AM
Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.
 
2013-06-24 09:03:40 AM

MyRandomName: The person was arrested, that is all the site says.


"It's technically true" is not an absolute defense.

MyRandomName: How is that different?


I would suggest it's not significantly different, but Fark isn't doing it with the sole intent to extort the people in the mugshots.
 
2013-06-24 09:03:50 AM
Indiana's new expungement law, which goes into effect next week, actually makes it a civil cause of action to disclose the existence of records that have been expunged.  I suspect that more and more states will follow suit, and the ensuing litigation will drive companies like this out of business.

And, no, this isn't an exercise in free speech on the part of the website owners.  Like cman posted, this is 21st century extortion.  You've heard that your rights stop at the tip of my nose?  I think that the courts are going to find an individual's right to privacy far more compelling than the right of a blackmailer to "inform" the public.  There's no compelling issue of speech here that would prevent a state government from authorizing an individual from suing the hell out of these people for this type of behavior.
 
2013-06-24 09:07:21 AM

ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.


Dont get convicted ... sure
Dont do shiat that deserves a valid arrest ... sure

Being arrested is not always easy to avoid even when behaving yourself
 
2013-06-24 09:09:32 AM

skozlaw: MyRandomName: The person was arrested, that is all the site says.

"It's technically true" is not an absolute defense.

MyRandomName: How is that different?

I would suggest it's not significantly different, but Fark isn't doing it with the sole intent to extort the people in the mugshots.


I hate those sites as much as anyone, I'm on one despite charges dropped within a month. It sucks.

But at the same time it is very hard to shut them down without violating the 1st.

Libel does not hold. It is just a repaste of public info . There would have to be a law in regards to the paid removal of public information.
 
2013-06-24 09:11:04 AM
Just because they CAN do it, doesn't mean that they should.
 
2013-06-24 09:12:13 AM
Criminal arrests, regardless of the outcome, are public record and could be accessed long before the Internet came about.  This is nothing new.  Criminal proceedings are ironically open to the public to PROTECT the defendant.  The founders wanted to prevent secret and unfair trials that lasted indefinitely with no recourse which is why you'll see the language in any court proceeding: "Done in open court on such and such date."


To those whose mugshots are permanently floating around the internet, you're welcome.
 
2013-06-24 09:12:39 AM

WTFDYW: Just because they CAN do it, doesn't mean that they should.


But if they see a way to make money from it, then they will do it.
 
2013-06-24 09:13:22 AM

skozlaw: It's libel, plain and simple.


Is it? If the site accurately reports that someone was arrested how is that libeling them?

There is certainly a lot of blackmail going on with this shakedown but it's a difficult one to legislate against partly because they are posting information that is theoretically publicly available and partly because the sites apparently have their legal base of operations outside the US.

They probably avoid blackmail charges by publishing the photos without attempting to extract cash first and then wait until people contact them.

One possible solution might be to copyright the photos and booking record and then charge a nominal fee - say $1 - for re-use of the photo and booking record. It wouldn't affect legitimate newspapers from doing their business but would make it absurdly unprofitable to collect every arrest photo in the country and then passively wait for people to request removals.
 
2013-06-24 09:15:47 AM
there's something farked up about it, it shouldn't be legal to make money off these images in this way anymore than it is legal to use them in an ad campaign.
 
2013-06-24 09:22:13 AM
Extortion.  It's not just for huge corporations and mooks in pinstriped suits named "Pauly" anymore.
 
2013-06-24 09:28:52 AM

theresnothinglft: Nothing suing for slander wouldn't fix.


One problem is you can't find the bastards to serve them.   TFA describes how they hide.

Target Builder: One possible solution might be to copyright the photos and booking record and then charge a nominal fee - say $1 - for re-use of the photo and booking record.


If it's public info, it isn't subject to copyright.  Government agencies can charge a reasonable fee to recover their actual costs of fulfilling a request for public info (although they often stretch the definition of "reasonable" to discourage FOIA requests). What's it cost the sheriff if I just download an image from his site that he put there regardless of whether I wanted it or not?

jackrazz: Indiana's new expungement law, which goes into effect next week, actually makes it a civil cause of action to disclose the existence of records that have been expunged.  I suspect that more and more states will follow suit, and the ensuing litigation will drive companies like this out of business.


That would be nice.  I hope it becomes practicable.
 
2013-06-24 09:29:51 AM
Kinda CSB.

A friend of mine was arrested for 'trespassing'.  He was in his own apartment, in his own bedroom, when his soon to be ex-girlfriend got drunk and accused him of cheating.  She called the police and had him arrested, then got a restraining order that prevented him from going to HIS apartment (where she had just moved in a week before).

His picture was up on 7 of these sites.

Charges were dropped (once she sobered up) and she moved out.

His lawyer then contacted all 7 of these companies and told them that the charges were dropped and that if they did not remove his picture immediately they would be sued.  They said "tough luck, Pay us $400 each to remove the picture."  He sued each of the places, and none of them showed up in court.  Judge found them all to be in contempt of court.  They were given the choice of paying him $10,000 or removing my friends picture.

The pictures were all removed the next day.

So remember kids, you can be arrested even if your not guilty of anything at all, then have to deal with scumbags like this.
 
2013-06-24 09:31:25 AM
" it accuses the sites of violating Ohio's publicity rights law by wrongfully using people's images for commercial purposes. "

This.
 
2013-06-24 09:36:22 AM

MyRandomName: Farkers seem to enjoy the smoking guns mugshot roundup. How is that different?


TSG's mugshot roundup doesn't list names or locations, rendering it virtually useless for seeking a specific person.  The mugshots selected are often highly unusual, reducing the likelihood that the subject is going to be recognized.

None the less, I've given up clicking on that weekly feature.
 
2013-06-24 09:39:48 AM

skozlaw: The First Amendment gives people the right to do this

Even ignoring the absurdity of continuing to lean absolutely on a document that's so old it was irrelevant to certain situations even a century ago, I don't see how that's true. The only reason these sites even exist is to attack the integrity of of its victims. It's libel, plain and simple. Just because the information is public doesn't mean you're free to use it in any way you want without consequences.

It would be great to see a class action develop against them.


Nice trolling. You should double down.
 
2013-06-24 09:39:54 AM

ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.


Yeah, never have crazy exes, crazy friends, crazy friends of friends, and don't go outside ever.
 
2013-06-24 09:40:50 AM

Nem Wan: " it accuses the sites of violating Ohio's publicity rights law by wrongfully using people's images for commercial purposes. "

This.


I'd have to see how that law defines "wrongfully."  Newspapers and TV stations have commercial purposes.
 
2013-06-24 09:42:22 AM

ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.


You know why super simple solutions handed out with a dollop of alleged superiority are funny?
 
2013-06-24 09:43:17 AM

Target Builder: Is it? If the site accurately reports that someone was arrested how is that libeling them?


Covered above. "Technically true" is not an absolute defense, especially not when a private individual's reputation is being maligned without any other purpose.

MyRandomName: But at the same time it is very hard to shut them down without violating the 1st.


But, it's not. You can't just say whatever you want about a person, especially a private individual, even if it's true, if your only intention is to impugn their reputation. Never have been. It's not protected speech because it violates another person's rights without any legitimate public purpose.

I think one good class action in front of a competent court could make quick work of these scum.
 
2013-06-24 09:54:33 AM

R.A.Danny: ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.

Yeah, never have crazy exes, crazy friends, crazy friends of friends, and don't go outside ever.



Not getting arrested is very easy. I've been doing it for decades with almost no effort.
 
2013-06-24 09:57:01 AM
BarkingUnicorn
Target Builder: One possible solution might be to copyright the photos and booking record and then charge a nominal fee - say $1 - for re-use of the photo and booking record.

If it's public info, it isn't subject to copyright. Government agencies can charge a reasonable fee to recover their actual costs of fulfilling a request for public info (although they often stretch the definition of "reasonable" to discourage FOIA requests). What's it cost the sheriff if I just download an image from his site that he put there regardless of whether I wanted it or not?


Just create a privacy law that requires the explicit permission of the depicted persons if you want to redistribute their mugshots.
It still prevents secrets arrests, but people who haven't been convicted won't find themselves on the cover of some sleazy magazine.
 
2013-06-24 09:58:30 AM
I'm not so certain that the libel claim wouldn't stick on this, at least for those that have charges dismissed. By publishing the mug shot with the crime arrested, there is an implied statement that the pictured individual has performed the stated crime.  By failing to also print the exoneration, the implication of conviction stands.
 
2013-06-24 10:06:01 AM

give me doughnuts: R.A.Danny: ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.

Yeah, never have crazy exes, crazy friends, crazy friends of friends, and don't go outside ever.


Not getting arrested is very easy. I've been doing it for decades with almost no effort.


I got arrested years ago while getting the paper off my parents driveway. For some reason the cops thought I was stealing from my own house. Luckily I was a minor so nothing was made public.
 
2013-06-24 10:11:01 AM
OLD NEWS.
 
2013-06-24 10:16:08 AM

BarkingUnicorn: theresnothinglft: Nothing suing for slander wouldn't fix.

One problem is you can't find the bastards to serve them.   TFA describes how they hide.

Target Builder: One possible solution might be to copyright the photos and booking record and then charge a nominal fee - say $1 - for re-use of the photo and booking record.

If it's public info, it isn't subject to copyright.  Government agencies can charge a reasonable fee to recover their actual costs of fulfilling a request for public info (although they often stretch the definition of "reasonable" to discourage FOIA requests). What's it cost the sheriff if I just download an image from his site that he put there regardless of whether I wanted it or not?

jackrazz: Indiana's new expungement law, which goes into effect next week, actually makes it a civil cause of action to disclose the existence of records that have been expunged.  I suspect that more and more states will follow suit, and the ensuing litigation will drive companies like this out of business.

That would be nice.  I hope it becomes practicable.


I wonder how the mugshot trolls would feel about their personal info being made public. Imagine a bunch of people who have obviously had a bad time with the law being handed the address of their shakedown man.

I think it would be fun.
 
2013-06-24 10:17:01 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Target Builder: One possible solution might be to copyright the photos and booking record and then charge a nominal fee - say $1 - for re-use of the photo and booking record.

If it's public info, it isn't subject to copyright.


Back to the drawing board.

Warmachine999: Kinda CSB.

A friend of mine was arrested for 'trespassing'.  He was in his own apartment, in his own bedroom, when his soon to be ex-girlfriend got drunk and accused him of cheating.  She called the police and had him arrested, then got a restraining order that prevented him from going to HIS apartment (where she had just moved in a week before).

His picture was up on 7 of these sites.

Charges were dropped (once she sobered up) and she moved out.

His lawyer then contacted all 7 of these companies and told them that the charges were dropped and that if they did not remove his picture immediately they would be sued.  They said "tough luck, Pay us $400 each to remove the picture."  He sued each of the places, and none of them showed up in court.  Judge found them all to be in contempt of court.  They were given the choice of paying him $10,000 or removing my friends picture.

The pictures were all removed the next day.

So remember kids, you can be arrested even if your not guilty of anything at all, then have to deal with scumbags like this.


That is a CSB. Out of curiosity - what did he sue them for? Defamation?
 
2013-06-24 10:19:31 AM

give me doughnuts: R.A.Danny: ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.

Yeah, never have crazy exes, crazy friends, crazy friends of friends, and don't go outside ever.


Not getting arrested is very easy. I've been doing it for decades with almost no effort.


Great job - I got arrested after I got back from Iraq - 20yrs old at an off base party and drunk off my ass. Cops showed up and voila I'm in cuffs and hauled off to jail. Less than 48 hours after I was back. Other than that I've never been arrested so are you saying that I should have to pony up because I was arrested for consuming alch. under the age of 21 (lets leave out mitigating factors like just back from a war)?
 
2013-06-24 10:19:42 AM

sethen320: I wonder how the mugshot trolls would feel about their personal info being made public. Imagine a bunch of people who have obviously had a bad time with the law being handed the address of their shakedown man.

I think it would be fun.


You wouldn't wonder if you RTFA and saw the extraordinary steps they take to avoid being found.  Have fun with that.
 
2013-06-24 10:22:33 AM
Parasites like this should be the lawful prey of the law abiding.
Companies are not people.
 
2013-06-24 10:22:44 AM
DOS them until they've spent twice what they extorted from you on bandwidth fees.
 
2013-06-24 10:26:48 AM
Target Builder:

That is a CSB. Out of curiosity - what did he sue them for? Defamation?

I don't know what they officially went after them for, but it worked.  A quick GIS does not show his mug shot anymore.
 
2013-06-24 10:27:35 AM

Securitywyrm: Companies are not people.


img.fark.net

"WTF, Bro?"
 
2013-06-24 10:27:51 AM

youmightberight: Great job - I got arrested after I got back from Iraq - 20yrs old at an off base party and drunk off my ass. Cops showed up and voila I'm in cuffs and hauled off to jail. Less than 48 hours after I was back. Other than that I've never been arrested so are you saying that I should have to pony up because I was arrested for consuming alch. under the age of 21 (lets leave out mitigating factors like just back from a war)?


Hell, yes!  You risked your life to defend our system of government, then flaunted your contempt for our system of government.  It's tantamount to treason even if you were  just standing around showing absolutely no sign of intoxication or disorderly conduct - which I'm sure you were, you being an honorable warrior and all.

/one-sided stories are the funniest
 
2013-06-24 10:44:26 AM

BarkingUnicorn: MyRandomName: Farkers seem to enjoy the smoking guns mugshot roundup. How is that different?

TSG's mugshot roundup doesn't list names or locations, rendering it virtually useless for seeking a specific person.  The mugshots selected are often highly unusual, reducing the likelihood that the subject is going to be recognized.

None the less, I've given up clicking on that weekly feature


it's so wrong I can't see how it can be justified. if you publish a picture of a person after an arrest, before trial, with their charges in some sh*tty convenience store paper like the "slammer" it presumes guilt.
if you went to trial and someone on the jury had seen your face on one of these papers at the 7-11. do you think they would be unbiased?
it's all about money (obvious, everything is). and the lurid aspect of seeing pictures of people you can feel morally superior to.
it was enough when the police posted their arrests once a week on page six of the local newspaper, and then let the courts decide guilt or innocence.
 
2013-06-24 10:44:26 AM

ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.


Not all arrests involve actual wrongdoing.
 
2013-06-24 10:47:41 AM

MyRandomName: How is it libel? The person was arrested, that is all the site says.


Their first amendment defense gets a lot weaker at the step where the shakedown occurs. Malfeasance is an exception to "truth as a defense".
 
2013-06-24 10:51:31 AM
Well, if some of the people whose mugs get posted lose their job as a result of it, and they can prove it, then yes, you can sue for libel, that is if they are private citizens, not public figures.

/DNRTFA
 
2013-06-24 11:03:46 AM
As someone with an absurdly common name, I scoff at these sites.  If you search for myname & mytown & mugshot, you'll bring back too many results to bother scanning through.  If some HR manager is willing to dig through that many hits to find a picture of me with a Warriors t-shirt, then it's probably not the type of company I want to work for.
 
2013-06-24 11:05:00 AM

skozlaw: The First Amendment gives people the right to do this

Even ignoring the absurdity of continuing to lean absolutely on a document that's so old it was irrelevant to certain situations even a century ago, I don't see how that's true. The only reason these sites even exist is to attack the integrity of of its victims. It's libel, plain and simple. Just because the information is public doesn't mean you're free to use it in any way you want without consequences.

It would be great to see a class action develop against them.


Truth is an absolute protection against libel in the USA. If all they do is present the mug shots as a reference that this person, according to public records, was arrested and photographed in such and such jurisdiction, it is not and cannot be libel. That being said, their requirement that the people featured in this pay non-nominal sums of money (it costs a LOT less than $500 to acquire and publish this sort of thing on the web), or potentially  any sum of money to have it removed from the web site could possibly be construed as extortion. As these web sites often end up doing an interstate transaction to make this demand, that could run afoul of Federal anti-extortion law. I am not an attorney, these statements are not legal advice. If nothing else, as TFA notes, states are already considering legislation to protect their own residents. The trick would be enforcing it across state lines. This will probably end up in Congress at some point, and then it all will depend on which way the Supreme Court's panties are bunched the week the challenge that the slimeballs who run these web sites gets heard by them.

In this day and age, I would prefer that simple arrest records be moved from the realm of "public record" to the realm of "confidential" or some other protected status. Dispositions other than dismissal or acquittal would still be public record. If a record is later expunged, then there would be a statutory requirement to either remove any publications of said record and print retractions every bit as prominent (and expensive--adjusted for inflation) as any publications of the record in question. Likewise, if someone is tried in the press and charges later dropped or an acquittal/expunge occurs, press outlets would be under this requirements. There would be no more four-column condemnations on Page 1 followed up with a one-sentence retraction on Page 7, next to the Garden Society meeting announcement. Prominent condemnation would require equally as prominent retraction.
 
2013-06-24 11:05:56 AM

Offog: I'm not so certain that the libel claim wouldn't stick on this, at least for those that have charges dismissed. By publishing the mug shot with the crime arrested, there is an implied statement that the pictured individual has performed the stated crime.  By failing to also print the exoneration, the implication of conviction stands.


Easily covered with boilerplate disclaimers.
 
2013-06-24 11:06:27 AM

ChipNASA: Old news.

Guess what,

DON'T. GET. ARRESTED.

No Problem.

Fixed that for you.


Because nobody, anywhere, ever got arrested for something they later were cleared of, amiright?
 
2013-06-24 11:10:56 AM
ProfessionalTrolls.com
"We don't just cause anonomous misery - we profit from it."

/Seriously, some of these are foriegn companies trolling US citizens. I guess the guys running Nigerian 419 scams have evolved.
 
2013-06-24 11:14:55 AM
So how's that "New, modern Library of Alexandria at your fingertips from your kitchen table" thing doin'?
 
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