New Mugshot Removal Laws
Lawmakers are working to shut down these websites which have hidden behind the first amendment by allowing citizens to file a lawsuit against them. Georgia state representative Roger Bruce introduced a new law that now makes it a crime for websites to charge Georgia citizens to have their mugshot removed. Websites will now have 30 days to remove a photo, and noncompliance is a violation of the law.
Google Targets Sites Displaying Mugshots Online
Google has moved swiftly to shut down the practice of mugshot extortion. The search engine company launched a new algorithm in October 2013 that specifically targeted mugshot sites. As a result, arrest photos were pushed down or removed from search results. While mugshots still exist online, they may no longer rank in the top results for a person’s name.
As part of an investigation of the industry, New York Times reporter David Segal alerted payment processors to the fact that these websites were using their services to earn money. Nearly every company Segal spoke to dropped mugshot websites as customers, including MasterCard, PayPal, American Express, and Discover. “We decided to discontinue support for payments related to mugshot removal services,” said PayPal spokesman John Pluhowski.
How Long do Mugshots Stay Online?
With lower visibility in Google search engine results and limited methods of payment, mugshot websites appear to be losing steam. While online mugshots are no longer as lucrative as before, they’re still able to profit in other ways. Specifically, these shady websites now make money through Bing, Yahoo and Google ads for bail bonds. As long as websites host mugshots online, your arrest photo could show up.
Though mugshots no longer rank high enough to dominate your search results, they do still pose a problem. Websites like mugshotsgainesville.com, mugshotsonline.com, and bustedmugshots.com state that booked inmates can’t pay to have their pictures removed, but they can wait. Many of these sites now claim mugshots will only stay online for a maximum of 90 days.
That’s good news for people with prior arrests. However, deleted photos may not really be gone from the web. Potential employers, creditors, and others could still dig up your arrest record if they check cached web pages or search the Internet Archive.
How to Remove Mugshots from Google
If you’re struggling with how to remove a mugshot online, don’t lose hope. You have options, and the law may be on your side. Try the following tips to remove your arrest photo from websites:
Check the website’s policy. Some websites have a “courtesy removal service.” If you can prove your innocence, they may remove your photo. Additionally, website owners may take down your photo if you can demonstrate that you’ve turned your life around. Communication with the websites is a good first step, but keep in mind that they may not be eager to help.
Find out if you’re protected by law. Your state may have a law that requires mugshot websites to remove photos upon request. Typically, they must be taken down within 30 days of being contacted with the request, or they will be in violation of the law. Georgia and Oregon are two states that currently have these laws, and we expect to see more states join their ranks shortly.
Push for a larger crackdown on mugshot websites. If your state doesn’t have a mugshot removal law, ask for one. Contact your state lawmakers and encourage them to create a law that will make it easier for you to manage your online reputation.
Consult an attorney. Class action and individual lawsuits are pending against mugshot websites. You may be able to join, or create your own case to remove the photo and possibly win damages.
Take Action to Defend Your Reputation
Ultimately, the outlook is positive for individuals struggling with reputation issues from a prior arrest. Though there are some websites that are still publishing photos and charging for removal, their popularity has clearly taken a nosedive. Individuals with prior arrests now have more options than simply paying for removal. If you’re featured on a mugshot website, seek out every option possible to get your photo removed. Take action, and defend your online reputation.
Every year thousands of individuals are wrongfully arrested or their charges were dropped immediately, yet they still struggle with seeing their dreaded mugshots within the search results.
Having a mugshot online can be detrimental to your overall success in life. Forget about finding a better job, buying a new home or if you’re single, dating can even be a struggle. Everyone turns to Google for answers to all of their questions. Our job is to make sure that information is up-to-date and relevant, giving you the second chance you deserve.
Unfortunately, mugshots are considered public information in the eyes of the United States government. This means anyone can easily access your arrest records and mugshot or booking information in just a few clicks.
In the past, mugshots were not as readily available as individuals would have to call or visit the county office and ask in-person for a copy of a particular person’s criminal history. These requests were typically made for employment purposes as well as housing agreements (i.e. renting or purchasing a new home, most require a background check).
In the early 2000s, we started to see an emergence of more and more “mugshot publishing websites” such as Mugshots.com, Arrests.org, and Rapsheets.org. This is when individuals just like you or I would appear if we had been arrested in the past.
All of a sudden, criminal records from decades ago were starting to resurface, hindering employment, housing, and relationship opportunities for millions of individuals. Most of which had their charges dropped, dismissed, expunged or sealed from the county records.
Today, mugshot websites such as Mugshots.com are sadly protected by the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) as long as they do not solicit and demand that individuals pay a fee to remove their mugshot they were within the legal guidelines and able to freely display millions of arrest records to the public.
Our approach to erasing online mugshots starts with tackling the problem at its source - i.e. going after the sites on which your mugshot first appeared. Remove-Arrests.org has worked with top lawyers, search engine engineers and IT professionals from around the nation to develop the most effective and confidential method possible to remove online arrests and get mugshot photos deleted from search engines and off the internet.
In doing so, we've created strategic relationships with internet reputation, privacy management and online record removal companies.
We'll use our proprietary tools to identify every occurrence of your arrest information online. This involves identifying every site on which your jail record, mugshot photo and/or arrest info appear. Based on the results of this analysis, we will then formulate the best possible approach to get your arrest record and mugshot removed from all the sites that have published it as quickly as possible. Once this is complete we will de-index the links from Google Search, Bing Search and Yahoo Search so that links to the mugshot websites no longer shows up on search results when your name is searched for.
This also will also get your arrest photo off Image Search Engines such as Google Images.
More over we use advanced search engine marketing tools to ensure any and all traces of your criminal record and/or arrest mugshot is entirely erased from internet searches like Google and Bing.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) generally grants that any person has the right to inquire access to federal agency documents or data, except to the degree the records are shielded from exposure by any of nine exemptions contained in the bill or by one of three special law enforcement record omissions.
As you could imagine, a few years into the birth of the mugshot publication industry started several “corrupted” websites that would publish public mugshots and demand that person pay them or the content (their arrest record) would remain on Google, Bing, and Yahoo infinitely.
To make matters worse, many local police stations are actively publishing arrest records and mugshots with no option of having it removed. The only way to successfully remove your arrest record from the county office would be to file for an expungement.
By definition, an expungement is a court-ordered process where legal records referencing an arrest record or a criminal conviction is “sealed” from the general public. After being granted an expungement your arrest records are essentially hidden from the public eye and “set-aside”.
Here Are the 9 Exemptions in the Act:
Protects information that is correctly identified in the matter of national security compatible with Administrative Order 12958.
Protects records related only to the internal organization laws and practices of an agency.
Protects information exempted from discharge by law.
Protects trade mysteries and business or financial data which could harm the competitive aspect or business interests of an organization.
Protects the honor of the deliberative or policy-making rules within the business by releasing from necessary disclosure opinion, results, and references included within inter-agency or intra-agency records or reports.
Protects information that would establish a clearly unfair invasion of individual privacy of the individuals affected.
Protects records or information collected for law enforcement purposes the release of which could reasonably be demanded.
Protects information that is included in or related to review, operating, or status reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of a company responsible for the management or guidance of financial organizations.
Protects geological and geophysical knowledge and data, including maps, concerning origins.
Finding Mugshots In Google Images
If you have not already come across your arrest records or mugshot on sites such as Google. Try searching your name in various ways.
One of the best and easiest ways to locate your mugshot and arrest record information online is by typing in the following. *For the purpose of this example please switch your full name where we use ‘John Doe’.
After visiting Google, there is a single search bar where you are free to search anything you desire. You do not have to go in order however here are some of the most popular ways we find arrest records on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Many sites will offer a free removal or case update if your charges have been dropped, dismissed, or expunged.
If no options appear you will need to either call them directly or use a WHOIS tool to uncover their contact information. We highly recommend using DomainTools or ICANN during this process.
After utilizing the tools given above to find more contact information about the owner of a particular website. Reach out to them to seek all possible removal options. This process may take time so stay persistent until you get the answers you want. However, it is important that you remain calm through all lines of communication and do not come off as threatening or rude.
Send a polite email requesting them to remove your information. Do not threaten or demand that you mugshot and booking information must be removed. Remember, these websites are under no legal obligation to remove your arrest records online so sending an angry email will most likely find its way to their trash folder, quickly.
Most of the time if your arrest in older than 5-10 years your chances are much greater of having them comply to your request.