Why Mugshot Websites Became Popular
The aughts and early ’10s were the wild wild west days of the Internet. It was an anything-goes kind of place where everyone was trying to figure out how best to use platforms for their advantage. This is the era in which mugshot websites really came to prominence.
Mugshot websites could use the Freedom of Information Act and other tools to get access to identifying information and use it in ways no one anticipated. They received the booking photographs and prisoner information and created websites. People started searching their own names or other peoples’ names when doing basic background checks and these websites with mugshots online, because they included full names and pertinent information like geo-information, started appearing high in their relevant search engine results.
The more people who visited these mugshot websites, the more the web hosts made off ad revenue. Eventually, the people whose mugshots there were started requesting their information to get taken down. The mugshot websites agreed only in exchange for a high ransom fee.
When the States Started Fighting Back
It took over a decade, but eventually, the problems with mugshot websites reached state legislation houses. State lawmakers heard stories upon stories of individuals wrongly charged, cases dismissed but photographs still up, or the high fees these websites charged as ransom, and started passing laws in favor of the individuals.
In 2013, Florida mugshots house bill 265 hit the floor. This bill looked to prohibit anyone from publishing or otherwise disseminating criminal information like booking photographs to solicit or accept a payment in order to remove that information. In other words, it stopped part of the profitability of these websites.
Unfortunately, while first introduced in 2013, this initial bill failed. But in 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis finally signed SB 1046 that went even further than that bill. This Florida mugshots law requires any publisher to remove booking photographs if requested by the person photographed. Not doing so comes with hefty fines of $1,000/day until removed. This law is arguably the most protective one enacted in all 50 states.
Back in 2013, Texas joined Georgia, Illinois, Utah, and Oregon to enact some relevant legislation. That year’s mugshots Texas bill included the prohibition of ransom fees by commercial mugshot websites. It also prohibited sheriffs from releasing booking photographs to any such commercial site.
Today, Texas has enacted more comprehensive legislation. This legislation gives people the ability to demand the removal of all their information in select situations. Individuals can request removal both from websites that require removal fee and those that do not.
Contact EraseMugshots to Learn More
Whether you live in Florida, Texas, or elsewhere, our team is here to help you. We have experience fighting mugshot websites in all 50 states. And we are effective in those fights. Contact us today to learn more about our business and how we can get your online information removed.