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Online mugshots taken down because of new Georgia law

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A statement from the MCSO's Facebook page. A statement from the MCSO's Facebook page.

A new Georgia law has forced the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office to take down online mugshots.

Previously, if you were arrested in Muscogee County, you would be booked and your mugshot would be put on Muscogee County Jail online database. Now if you go on the database, you would see names and information, but not pictures of the individuals who have been arrested.

The Sheriff’s Office new mugshot policy is because of House Bill 845 and applies to all Sheriff’s Offices in Georgia. The bill puts restrictions on access to mug shots because of third-party websites that try to make money off your mugshot.

These websites take your mugshot from the online jail database and publish it on their website. They later contact you, asking you to pay a few hundred dollars for them to take it down. If you don’t pay, they’ll leave it up.

Alexa Gosby was arrested on forgery charges in 2012. Even after her case was dismissed, the mugshot stayed on a third-party website. She thinks it could jeopardize her chances of getting a job.

“I worked it out with the person, and the charges were dropped, but even last night it was still up there on the internet,” said Gosby.

Stories like this is why State Senator Josh McKoon voted for the bill.

“This is extortion,” said McKoon. “The purpose of the bill is to clamp down on that abusive practice and the taking advantage of people by asking for money to take their photo off the website.”

Media outlets, individuals and crime papers, such as “The Joint,” will still be able to put out mugshots of arrested individuals, they just have to request the photos and sign a statement declaring that no individual who has their photograph published will be required to pay a fee to have that photograph removed.

David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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