The Online Mug Shot Racket

Sites like mugshots.com use web-scraping programs to collect mugshots and information from police websites and compile them online, and then remove the information if someone complains and pays a fee that can go upwards of $1,000. One CEO of a mugshot website said his site was doing a public service: “I absolutely believe that a parent, for instance, has a right to know if their kid’s coach has been arrested.” But as critics argue, it’s not a public service if someone can pay the site $500 to get their photo and information removed. States like Georgia are passing laws to make it so that the sites are required to remove the photos free of charge if a person can provide proof that the charges were dismissed.