Dec 302014
 December 30, 2014  Posted by  Breaches, Court, U.S.

An item in Courthouse News not only reminds us of the risks of ID theft, but highlights the problem of mug shot websites that post – and refuse to delete without fee – pictures.

Sheyrane Sterling has reportedly sued Unpublish LLC, Whois Privacy Pty. Ltd.,, and Openbare Dienst Internationale in Westchester County Court, New York.

Sterling claims she was a victim of ID theft in November 2011, and when Yonkers police arrested the thief two years later, the thief gave them her ID card.

The defendants then published Sterling’s name and mug shot as a criminal, she says.

And then, doing what we have seen before, the mug shots site allegedly refused to remove her picture and information unless she paid them almost $400 per post.

Read more on Courthouse News.

I’ve been blogging about the issue of mug shot web sites charging removal fees since 2012, and how the legal issues aren’t totally clear to me. Earlier this month, we saw a case involving mug shots settle in Ohio, and it will be interesting to see what happens in this New York case.

As much as this site has been protective of free speech and sharing of public records (which mug shots are), this all still smacks of blackmail to me. Certainly an ID theft victim should not have to be dealing with this type added reputation harm and stress, and I hope she prevails.

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