Letters to the Editor

Donovan letter: Mug shot websites

I would like to bring awareness about an emerging business that is targeting a niche market of tabloid journalism, hurting people’s pride, affecting careers and taking advantage of an individual’s embarrassment causing “harm” to each individual.

I am talking about private companies that publish information about people that are arrested by law enforcement and publish the arrest information and mug shots on the internet even if the person has been proven not guilty and their record expunged.

After their mug shot is posted on the internet, they contact the individual and tell them they will take their mug shot down for a fee of up to $400 per site only to put the mug shot up on another site, or sell the information to another site.

Several state legislatures have introduced bills to regulate the mug shot publishing industry. These bills often require that operators of mug shot websites remove information about individuals who were arrested but never convicted. A civil action may be brought against that website that violates the law, and a person who brings suit may seek damages equal to or greater than $1,000, per violation. We need this law in Idaho.

Demery Donovan, Meridian