Mugshot Removals: Exploitation, Penalties, and the Need for Change

Mugshot Removals: Exploitation, Penalties, and the Need for Change


Mugshots have been a subject of fascination and curiosity for many, leading to an increased demand for these images on the internet. Consequently, websites have emerged to exploit this interest, often with detrimental consequences for the individuals in the photos. Google has taken notice of these exploitative practices and has implemented penalties for sites that use takedown methods deemed abusive. This article will explore why people exploit mugshots, how Google penalizes these sites, and the most frequently searched questions related to mugshots.

Why People Exploit Mugshots

The internet has created an environment where personal information is easily accessible and can be exploited for profit. In the case of mugshots, the exploitation often stems from the following reasons:

  1. Sensationalism: Mugshots offer a glimpse into the lives of those arrested, which can be fascinating for some people. This fascination fuels the demand for these images, encouraging websites to capitalize on this interest.

  2. Public shaming: The publication of mugshots can serve as a form of public shaming. Some people may feel a sense of superiority or schadenfreude by sharing and viewing these images.

  3. Financial gain: Websites that host mugshots often charge a fee to remove the images. This creates a lucrative business model where individuals are forced to pay to protect their reputation and personal life.

  4. Background checks: Employers, landlords, and others may search for mugshots as part of their background checks, further incentivizing websites to make these images easily available.

Google’s Penalties for Exploitative Takedown Methods

Google has recognized the negative impact of mugshot websites on individuals’ lives and has taken action to penalize websites that employ exploitative takedown methods. These penalties include:

  1. Lower search rankings: Websites that engage in exploitative practices, such as charging for mugshot removal, may be demoted in search results. This reduces the visibility of these websites and makes it more difficult for them to profit from their practices.

  2. Deindexing: In extreme cases, Google may completely remove a website from its search results, effectively making the website invisible to users.

  3. Manual action: Google may issue a manual action against a website, which can lead to the website being removed from search results until the issue is resolved.

Most Searched Questions About Mugshots

The following are some of the most frequently searched questions and phrases related to mugshots:

  1. How can I remove my mugshot from the internet?
  2. Are mugshot websites legal?
  3. How long do mugshots stay online?
  4. How can I find someone’s mugshot for free?
  5. Can employers see my mugshot?
  6. Do mugshots show up in background checks?
  7. How do I request a mugshot removal?


Mugshots can have lasting, negative impacts on individuals’ lives. While the internet has made it easier for websites to exploit these images, search engines like Google have taken steps to penalize exploitative practices. It is crucial to be aware of your rights and the resources available to help protect your reputation and privacy online.