I-Team finds changes to online mug shots - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I-Team finds changes to online mug shots

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A follow up now to a 13abc I-team investigation from just about a year ago.  There is good news for people whose lives were being ruined by a picture.

It's the mug shot.  One of the lasting memories if you're accused of a crime.  For some people making a picture like this go away was costing them big money.  Some called it extortion.  The I-Team has learned that problem is going away. 

As the I-Team showed you last year, for some people a quick Google search of their name would not bring up family photos or Facebook profiles, but their mug shot.  It was hurting people trying to get jobs because if an employer put your name in, and even if the charges were dropped, a mug shot would pop up.  But help is here.   

"You're not going to see these mug shots appearing on the first or second page of Google.  And it's buried very far down the list to the point where they are getting a lot less traffic," said attorney Scott Ciolek.

A lawsuit through Ciolek has changed the way Google lists these mug shot websites that were charging people to have them removed.  Ciolek says companies like Paypal and Visa that accepted the payments in the past have now backed away

"Once I think Google understood what the business model was, once Paypal and Visa understood that they were being used for extortion, they quickly distanced themselves from the operation," said Ciolek.   

The suit brought attention to the issue.  Ciolek's clients won't be making money out of all this, but it's an investment in their reputations.

"The effect of this is increased privacy and allow people to move forward with their lives," said Ciolek.  "I think there's going to be a dramatic decrease in the actual commercialization of the mug shot as a result of this lawsuit."

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