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Florida’s ‘Mug Shot Industry’ Sounds Like a Legal Scam

by Dave on August 11, 2011

handcuffsA new ‘industry’ has recently sprung up in Florida and elsewhere around the country. It’s being called the ‘mugshot industry.’ Entrepreneurs are exploiting public records and search engines in an attempt to shame those who’ve been arrested. And it appears to be legal.

Here’s how it works. Websites such as Florida.Arrests.com, WhosArrested.com, and FLjails.com among others, use automated software to crawl through county sheriff websites and collect mugshots of anyone arrested. Florida public record law allows, even encourages (http://ow.ly/5THZC) government agencies to make information public. FloridaArrests.com and other such sites then post the mugshots on their site. According to this article from Wired (http://ow.ly/5TDOL), FloridaArrests.org contains 4 million mugshots.

Then there are websites like RemoveSlander.com, RemoveArrest.com, and others who – oddly enough appeared shortly thereafter – offer to help you remove your mugshot for a price. How convenient. The price varies widely, sometimes as much as $699.

The owner of FloridaArrest.com, an ex-con himself, says his motive was to put up ads on the site to make money. Yet RemoveSlander.com says it can get mugshots on FloridaArrests.com removed is short order – guaranteed. Hmmmm…. sounds fishy to me..

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to protect hard-core criminals. But anyone can make a mistake. Teenagers and even children as young as 11 are included on the site if they’re accused of adult crimes. Shaming them is one thing but this sounds like a scam – a legal one.

The Wired article is here: http://ow.ly/5TDOL

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