Looking Back at Some of 2017’s Top News!

An article published this past December for Pewtrusts.org points out that despite the much appreciated efforts by legislators across the country, mugshot site owners may be just as good at maneuvering around state laws as they are at avoiding reporters and maintaining top position in google’s search results.

Photos Courtesy of the Jacksonville, Florida Sheriff’s Office

For example, Bailbondcity.com’s Kyle David Grant (pictured to your left) refused to let some pesky New York Times’ exposé yield his ambition to get paid by publishing then removing public arrest records:

“If the Grants abandoned their business tomorrow, someone else would step into the void. Again, this is a Google issue.”

Well, sure enough, after Mr. Grant’s original site’s SEO results sunk, it looks like he has demonstrated great initiative by creating a new online mugshot scam and named it Rapsheets.org. The replicating site advertises itself as “the largest and most thorough crime statistic website in the world” (I beg to differ).

Don’t forget that Florida’s first law targeting online mugshot removal scams will be going into effect this summer. If you’re mugshot is being advertised for removal by sites such as rapsheets.org then please contact the Florida Attorney General’s office and ask the State of Florida to proactively enforce compliance of its newly enacted law.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunshine State Set to Become Less Shady 😎

After 5 subsequent legislative sessions of introducing bills to address an ongoing mugshot extortion website problem, Florida’s government finally said “enough is enough” and SB 118 was signed by the Governor on June 16th. Here is a quick reminder on how this new law will regulate the online mugshot industry:

-Any person or entity engaged in commercial mugshot publishing may not solicit or accept a fee or other form of payment to remove the photographs.

-A person whose arrest booking photograph is published or otherwise disseminated, or his or her legal representative, may make a request, in writing, for the removal of an arrest booking photograph.

-10 after days after written request has been made, refusal to remove an arrest booking photograph constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice in accordance with part II of chapter 501, Florida Statutes.

Please remember SB 118 will not go effective until July 1st, 2018. In the meantime, if your photograph is on a Florida removal scam site (like mugshots.com for example) it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to file a complaint with the State’s Attorney General and mention SB 118 because her office serves as an enforcing authority for Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Also, if you get a chance, check out right2remove.us.

Believe it or not, Sunshine State reporters have been unable to find anything nice to say about this newly enrolled piece of legislation intended to give “those who have repaid their debt to society, as well as for those who have been arrested but never convicted of a crime” a better shot at securing employment. According to an open government “score card” cooked-up by the press, lawmakers who voted favorably on SB 118 received a point reduction. So —for what it is worth— classactionagainstmugshotwebsites.com would like to thank every member of the House and Senate for their unanimous show of hands and award all of them an “A+” for taking necessary action.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Ask Florida’s Governor to Sign SB 118!

The Florida media organized against Florida SB 118 shortly after its recent passage through the state’s legislature and is now urging the Governor to veto it. Newspaper editorial boards are all the sudden worried about an amendment to the bill that was added back in the beginning of April that provides automatic administrative sealing of arrest records for those found not guilty, acquitted, or who never make it to trial. Keep in mind not one lawmaker in either the house or senate voted against this bill. The press had an entire month to voice their wholehearted concerns regarding this provision but chose to wait and coordinate editorials against it at the last minute in an abrupt, last ditch effort to kill the bill.

A central argument behind not automatically expunging records is name dropping defendants of well-publicized arrests and court cases like George Zimmerman who due to failure in the judicial system were acquitted. SB 118 in no way restricts news commentary on arrests or ongoing trials (or subsequent arrests as in the case of Zimmerman.)

For those of you who aren’t acquitted murderers and likely enjoyed practical obscurity in the headlines from a past arrest, please contact Florida Governor Rick Scott and ask him to sign this common sense piece of legislation protecting the due process rights of those who are innocent until proven guilty.

The Honorable Rick Scott
Office of the Governor
rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com
400 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

SB 118 and More News

SB 118 made its way through Florida Senate hearings last month. This proposed law will allow someone whose booking photo is on a site that offers payment for removal to “bring a civil action to enjoin the continued publication or dissemination of the photograph if the photograph is not removed within 10 calendar days after receipt of the written request for removal.” Furthermore the bill reads, “Refusal to remove an arrest booking photograph after written request has been made constitutes an unfair or deceptive trade practice in accordance with part II of chapter 501, Florida Statutes.”

The State of Texas filed a bill back in March looking to improve its existing law regulating mugshot sites. HB 4201 would reduce the legal mugshot removal fee from $150 to $0. As well as, prohibit a law enforcement agency from posting mugshots on a website “unless the person depicted in the photograph has been finally convicted for the offense in connection with which the photograph was taken.” The bill still allows for release of the records upon request. Refraining from publishing people’s mugshots en masse online until they are actually found guilty sounds like a good policy for all law enforcement agencies so please contact Texas lawmakers and ask that they support this legislation.

In case you’ve missed some of the recent news about mugshot sites, here are a few articles:

The Chicago Tribune reports a federal lawsuit seeking class action status out of Illinois.

The New York Times followed up on a 2013 piece, once again bringing the issue to Google’s attention. It looks like the website featured in this particular story (bailbondcity.com) is no longer ranking very high in google search results. Let’s hope the SEO downgrade is permanent. But in case it is not, please be aware the website’s “general manager” is capable of removing mugshots with a few clicks before you consider paying any of those go-between reputation companies:

Please help support the cause against the online mugshot extortion racket by asking your elected officials to pass 2017 legislation.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Legislation Update

Earlier in 2016, Ohio HB 172 (Creates fair and accurate publishing of criminal records law) unaminsouly passed through the state House then the Senate but was unable to make it to the Governor’s desk before the session ended. The bill is planned to be reintroduced to the Ohio Legislature in the 2017 regular session.

For the 5th year in a row, Florida lawmakers have drafted legislation hoping to get rid of online mugshot scams (SB 118). More on the many issues behind this bill later… But again, the Sunshine State also happens to be ground zero for the national online mugshot extortion dilemma —so please don’t hesitate to contact Florida lawmakers and ask them to support SB 118 when they convene March 7th.

North Carolina recently filed a bill (HB 18) that would exempt mugshots from public record. This isn’t the first time NC lawmakers have proposed doing so. Much like those who disagree with a recent Federal Court ruling in favor of individual privacy, seemingly concerned journalists solely want to place blame on those shady extortive mugshot websites for inspiring the government to take this kind of action. Perhaps these same reporters should give themselves and their colleagues a share of the credit for taking part in commercially over-publicizing mugshots. Numerous North Carolina media outlets like WRAL publish “mugshot galleries” for clicks under the guise of journalism.

Meanwhile in South Dakota, advocates of SB 25 are probably hoping that any negative publicity associated with the exploitive practice of for-profit mugshot publishing doesn’t blow their chances of making booking photographs part of public record. South Dakota is one of the few states where these photos are currently not made public. Expanding the online mugshot extortion industry’s clientele base is a very avoidable circumstance —so long as South Dakota legislators, as well as, the attorney general choose not to ignore the laws passed by 14 other states. SB 25 should include a provision to discourage despicable profiteers from exploiting unbridled access to these records if this bill is going to be signed into law. Today, SB 25 was advanced by the South Dakota Senate judiciary committee with a vote of 6-1. The one senator who opposed the measure said “The photos, if made public record, are available to literally anyone,”… “My concern is with the unintended consequences of what we’re doing here.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bailbondcity.com: Another example of Florida’s Failure to Pass a Mugshot Site Law

Due to the insistence of media lobbying organizations, the Florida Legislature has disappointingly left mugshot site bills sitting on the table year after year. Meanwhile, people all over the USA continue to be hit up for money by profiteers hustling online mugshots within this state.

Bailbondcity.com, described in a recent press release as a “top 5 aggressive mugshot website”, is a perfect example of this problematic situation made possible by the Sunshine State.

I attempted several times to contact the owners of this up-and-coming mugshot scam in order to ask them why google’s search results lists their site falsely stating that individuals arrested years ago are “currently incarcerated” —but had no luck. While I was searching for contact info for bailbondcity.com, I found the site was previously registered by Florida residents organized as Kyle Grant 1 LLC in November 2015. During that time bailbondcity.com directly charged $74.99 for mugshot removal according to archived records of this website. The going rate for mugshot removal is currently at $399.

A recently updated business address found on bailbondcity.com points to the same individuals according to public record. I noticed this website links to another site solely sharing the same IP address also registered under Kyle Grant 1 LLC called uberideguide.com. Its worth noting that this LLC has registered several “bail bondsman” domains but no records could be found indicating that anyone within the organization is licensed to preform that service in the state of Florida.

Another website called removebailbondcity.com popped up just last month obviously looking to capitalize on business opportunities created by this hot new scam. The removal site claims:

“No. We are NOT BailBondCity.com. We are not owned by a mugshot website. We are an Independent Removal Company and we charge for Removals.  We just happen to have extremely intelligent people in our SEO marketing department that figured out that by looking like BailBondCity.com and having a name similar to BailBondCity.com we would get the most traffic. They were right!

BUYER BEWARE: Similar claims by similar websites have been proven to not be exactly true. The removal site goes on to make a plain warning for customers (as many other sites do):

“If we discover that you have filed a charge back after services rendered then we can guarantee you that your mugshot will not only get re indexed in Google but will remain their permanently.”

-Gosh, they really sound serious about making sure no one tries to screw them out of their money.

Please continue to contact state lawmakers in Florida and ask them to put an end to the unethical dealings within the online commercial mugshot industry.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Citing Online Publication and Privacy, Feds Exempt Mugshots From FOIA

Attention State Lawmakers and Staffers,

The United States Government has just closed a loop-hole within the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals by overturning a 1996 ruling that gave the press routine access to federal mugshots. Agreeing with previous decisions by the 10th and 11th circuit courts, a vote of 9-7 concluded that these records do not have to be released under the Federal Freedom of Information Act.PrivatePropertySign

Judge Deborah Cook writes:

“…booking photos need not be released when requested by media under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

She said the internet gives criminal defendants a “non-trivial” privacy interest in their photos, which can stay online for years, that they lacked in 1996, when photos might appear on TV or in print media and then never been seen again.

A disclosed booking photo casts a long, damaging shadow over the depicted individual,” Cook wrote. “In 1996, this court could not have known or expected that a booking photo could haunt the depicted individual for decades. Experience has taught us otherwise.”

However, attorneys representing media outlets have been fighting for access to these photos for decades and hinted at a possible appeal to the supreme court in response to the decision.

We ask that elected state officials acknowledge the clear privacy interests outlined by this court’s latest ruling and continue to introduce legislation to curb the exploitative practice of online commercial mugshot publishing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Help Reach A 1,000 Signatures On This Petition

Classactionactionagainstmugshotwebsites.com is asking for YOUR HELP reaching the goal of only 1,000 signatures on this online petition in opposition of mugshot website scams.  Just as soon as the 1,000 signature goal is met, classactionagainstmugshotwebsites.com will go down the list of companies advertising on mugshots.com and share this petition with all of them!  

 

Thank you for your support!

unclesammugshot

For even more info on how you can help MAKE A DIFFERENCE visit NoMugshots.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Win For Online Mugshot Scam Victims

Thanks to readers like you, the 2nd Annual Mugshot Extortion Awareness Month was an overwhelming success. If you haven’t already seen Fusion.net’s spectacular six-part investigative documentary inspecting the commercial mugshot industry then with my highest recommendation I encourage you to check it out:

In even more great news, legislation in Kentucky aimed at stopping mugshot scams successfully made its way through the state’s senate earlier this month and shortly will be placed on the Governor’s desk for autographing. This makes Kentucky the 14th state in the nation to specifically pass a law against these types of scams.

As always thank you for supporting the cause of changing the law to stop mugshot extortion.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mugshot Site Owner Publishes Own Booking Photograph

The commercial mugshot industry’s “2015 Trendsetter Award” goes to Busted! Mugshots’ visionary, Kyle Prall, for being the first mugshot website owner to actually publish his own booking photograph. Under Prall’s brilliant leadership, Busted! Mugshots grew from a locally sold shame rag into a nation-wide extortion scam.kylepralldwi2

Mr. Prall’s other achievements include a 2013 class-action lawsuit settlement in which he agreed to stop charging money to remove mugshots from his website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment