Thursday January 9, 2014 the new year started off with another blow to mugshot website publishers. The Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced that today booking photos will no longer be online. Names, addresses and pending charges will still be available online. This is a direct response to mugshot profiteers
?I think it is extortion,? Gualtieri said. ?I?m not going to see people treated that way.? ?The Pinellas County Sheriff?s Office?s ?Who?s In Jail? website has been online since 2005. Roughly 50,000 people are booked into the jail each year.
The Pinellas county sheriff removes mugshot and booking information for people who have their cases dismissed or are found not guilty. Companies like mugshots.com, justmugshots.com and arrests.org are profiting massively from peoples misfortunes. Last year major payment processors took issues with mugshot website and stop processing payments for them. Google also updated its search algorithm in order to suppress and hide mugshot pictures of individuals. Unfortunately that hasn’t helped everyone including the gentleman featured in the New York Times Article.
The sheriff’s new system will make it too labor intensive for people to search for every individual’s mugshot that is booked into the facility. It in effect breaks all of the automated web scraper programs that the industry is currently using. That isn’t to say the companies won’t respond with more sophisticated software. If more and more agencies develop similar system perhaps we will see better software.