Saturday, July 2, 2016

Artist Takes An Interesting Swipe Website Mugshot Industry

An artist is taking zillions of mugshots
from websites and blurring them,
then doing search engine
optimization so people go
to the blurred images not the
for-profit mugshot web sites.  
There's always creeps who try to take advantage of people's past mistakes for fun and profit

So it is with a multitude of online mugshot web sites, which lets you find out which of your friends got arrested in the past, and what they looked like in their mug shots.

Of course, said mugshot victims can try to get these images scrubbed from the internet, but you pay an extortion fee to get the job done.

Things got really bad back around 2010 and 2011, when shysters put up web sites full of people's mugshots, and  charged people exorbitant amounts of money to have them scrubbed.

According to the Kernel/Daily Dot,  some states passed laws meant to hamper these extortion sites, especially after Wired magazine wrote an expose on the practices back in 2011.

Google changed its algorithm so that mugshots weren't priortized so much. Visa and Mastercard pledged not to process money if it was for these mugshot extortion outfits.

Of course, this is the internet. So there's still slimy outfits around.

There are still many extortion websites that might or might not be somehow affiliated with the actual mugshot sites to get people to pay money to get rid of the mugshots.

Never mind the fact that I don't understand the appeal of looking at arrest mug shots of random people.

Since it's definitely hard to get rid of this situation, there are some people who are conducting some guerrilla warfare on the mugshot industry.

One of them, says Wired magazine, is an artist named Paolo Cirio, who is using the mugshot website tools against them.

According to Wired:

"Cirio scaped images from six websites (he claims to have 15 million photos) and used an algorithm to blur them. Then he created websites with slightly different URLs - became for example - and did a little search engine optimization so his images appear alongside real mugshots.

"When data is technically indestructible, obfuscation might be the last resort," he says.

 Not that the mugshot outfits are particularly happy with all this. has sent Cirio a cease and desist letter, says Wired.

I know mugshots are public information, and journalists and everybody else should have access to these public records. You know, government accountability and all that.

But these websites that claim to be posting the mugshots for public service are really doing it for entertainment purposes and to make a profit.

It's sleazy.

Says Cirio about his efforts:

"I hope the viewers will demand the need for rights concerning personal information and reputation over the internet."

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