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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Predatory Websites Turn Mug Shots Into an Extortion Racket

Posted by Paul Constant on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Here's something that I never thought I'd write: The Daily has published a story that everyone should read.

Websites like Mugshots.com and Arrests.org have collected millions of mug shots by scraping police department websites, and if innocent arrestees want their photos taken down, they have to spend anywhere from $399 to $1,479.

The other option is allowing the embarrassing — and potentially career-killing — image to stay near the top of their Google results for years...This summer, a new mug-shot site called BlabberMouthKC.com launched with one of the most brazenly extortionate schemes of all. Before opening, the owner sent letters to arrestees with their mug shots printed on the envelope, telling them to pay $200 to have the picture removed.

“We have already started blabbing to the world about your release from jail,” the letter said. “And we want to make you aware of our services, as we kind of have a big mouth.”

The owner shut the website down after an enormous backlash.

Go read the whole maddening story.

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