FL Bill Targets Sites That Charge To Remove Mugshots
Published April 4th, 2014
GAINESVILLE - Smile you're on camera and the image is much easier to take than to erase. The Florida Legislature is targeting websites that charge fees for removing police mug shots. A new proposal would end up charging the websites that violate the law.
After serving time behind bars, things don't go back to normal right away-- Those who have been locked up not only have to deal with cleaning up their act but also cleaning their record.
We're talking about a very different picture here, not selfies but Mug shots. Whether you've taken a good one or a bad one, most people don't want this to come up when their name is googled.
Websites like www.Mugshots.com will keep pictures public until you pay to get them down. How much? Nearly $400 just for one picture.
Here at the Alachua County Jail everything is electronic. Mug shots are automatically linked to the Circuit 8 Court Administration.
"The only photographs that are on that link to the circuit 8 are people that are currently in jail so once that person comes out of jail that person will no longer show up as being in jail,” Art Forgey a spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff's Office said.
Florida Senator Darren Soto is the author of a measure that would require mug shot sites to remove booking photos at no charge. "Well each individual who sustains damages as a result of the violation would be able to get an injunction against whatever company was posting them online and charging for removal and it would also allow for $1000 a day after the injunction period if the violator didn't correct the situation," Soto said.
Soto says the bill is now ready to go to the floor, and he believes it has a good shot to pass. Some of the people I talked to about this issue tell me, they don't have a problem with sites charging to remove mug shots-- that this is just one of the many consequences of being arrested.
"You know... It's kind of an interesting take on things because the mug shots are a public record which anybody has access to... However there are unscrupulous businesses out there that are taking advantage of that and using those mug shots for financial gain," Forgey said.
At least 12 other states, including Florida, have mug shot-related bills pending.
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