Friday, January 11, 2013

UT - No more online mug shots, SL County sheriff says

Original Article

Good, it's about time, all police departments should start doing this, for the same reason, exploitation and extortion. comes to mind.


By Pat Reavy

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Using words such as "bullies," "extortionists" and "trash," Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder (Facebook) on Thursday blasted tabloid magazines and websites that post mug shots from his jail and then demand money for the pictures to be removed.

"In my opinion, what we're seeing today is nothing short of extortion in our county," Winder said. "This practice must be stopped."

Because of the recent booming practice of some private companies publishing all mug shots in a single publication, Winder announced that as of Thursday, mug shots will no longer be available on the Salt Lake County Jail website.

The county, he said, had become an unwilling accomplice to these publications because of its long-standing practice to post mug shots online where they could be accessed by the public. One company alone had downloaded 520,000 mug shots from his Salt Lake County Jail, Winder said, and about 2,700 from the Davis County Jail.

He showed an example of one company that charged citizens $400 to have a single mug shot removed from their website, and nearly $1,500 for four mug shots to be taken offline.
- Doesn't surprise us one bit.  This is what happens when records are made public, people abuse them, like (PDF) for example.

The problem, Winder said, is that once those mug shots are on the Internet, they never really disappear. While someone may pay money to have their picture removed from one website, it very easily could show up on another.

Another issue, he said, is that many of the people who have their pictures taken are never actually booked into jail. Some are "booked and released," meaning they are allowed to leave after their mug shot is taken. And some are never charged or are later found innocent of the crime they were accused of committing. Furthermore, Winder said some people have mug shots taken for relatively minor offenses. But to the public, "A mug shot means criminal," he said.
- That is why you should not be taking their photos until they are convicted in a court of law!

"Yes, innocent people's photographs are being put up there," he said. "Individuals whose only offense was being arrested, and subsequently the charges were dropped."

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