SACRAMENTO — The state Senate on Monday approved a measure that would crack down on the growing number of Internet websites that post booking photos of those arrested until a fee is paid to take them down.
The legislation, which next goes to the state Assembly for consideration, would outlaw the charging of fees in exchange for removing mug shots from the Internet, taking away the incentive for such sites.
State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said he introduced the bill after learning of websites sending emails to people offering to take down booking photos for a fee even though more than half of the people arrested and booked are not convicted or have charges dropped.
“This is extortion, plain and simple,” Hill told his colleagues before the 34-0 bipartisan vote to approve SB 1027.
Websites including JustMugshots.com have created a cottage industry of collecting mug shots from law enforcement agencies and posting them on the Internet. The Times recently reported about a man who paid $2,000 to a website to take down his 11-year-old booking photo from several websites.
The existence of the sites could affect the ability of those pictured to get jobs or be promoted, Hill said, noting that a similar law has been enacted in Georgia and is being considered in 14 other states.