For years, websites like Mugshots.com, Mugshotsonline.us, and Jailbase.com have been profiting off of the humiliation of individuals who have had a run-in with the law. Last week, in one of the more comical stories in online privacy, two alleged owners of Mugshots.com finally got what was coming to them – they’ve been arrested on charges of extortion, money laundering and identity theft – Thomas Keesee and Sahar Sarid of Mugshots.com ended up having their own mugshots posted publicly online.
Mugshots.com is a public online database that indexes recent arrests from around the country and makes them easily searchable online along with a mugshot and a description of the arrest. The website offers to remove mugshot listings by paying a hefty fee of $399.
The website has a large disclaimer at the top of its homepage indicating “all are presumed innocent until proven guilty”, but there’s no indication of what actually ends up happening after the arrest. The full mugshots.com disclaimer is below:
“DISCLAIMER NOTICE: ALL ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW. PUBLISHED MUGSHOTS AND/OR ARREST RECORDS ARE PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED PUBLIC RECORDS OF: AN ARREST, AN INDICTMENT, A REGISTRATION, THE DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY OR A DETENTION. THE MUGSHOTS AND/OR ARREST RECORDS PUBLISHED ON MUGSHOTS.COM ARE IN NO WAY AN INDICATION OF GUILT AND THEY ARE NOT EVIDENCE THAT AN ACTUAL CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED. ARREST DOES NOT IMPLY GUILT, AND CRIMINAL CHARGES ARE MERELY ACCUSATIONS. A DEFENDANT IS PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS PROVEN GUILTY AND CONVICTED. FOR LATEST CASE STATUS, CONTACT THE OFFICIAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY WHICH ORIGINALLY RELEASED THE INFORMATION.”
Because of this, many people – like Jesse T. from the Washington Post – have a mugshot on the website even after never being charged with a crime. Having a mugshot easily searchable online can make it extremely difficult to find a job, secure housing, or even a romantic relationship.
Mugshot.com Alleged Owners Arrested
On May 17th 2018, two of the four men allegedly responsible for mugshots.com were arrested Thomas Keesee and Sahar Sarid. Both men were arrested in south Florida.
The arrests were made after arrest warrants were issued by California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, where he explains the issues that individuals with photos on mugshots.com have to deal with:
“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple.”
Both California and Florida have laws against soliciting or accepting a fee to remove a booking photograph, and it won’t be long before the rest of the country passes similar laws.
While DeleteMe may not be able to remove mugshots from these kinds of sites online, we are able to help you figure out the best ways to contact these kinds of sites, and assist with removal strategies. Of course, DeleteMe does remove personal information from the leading data broker websites like Whitepages, Spokeo, Intelius and BeenVerified.
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