Can I Contact Google to Get My Mugshot Removed?
If your mugshot has been posted on one of the many online mugshot/arrest record databases that are becoming increasingly popular, you’re probably looking for a way to have this content removed from the Internet. Going about it the honest and upfront way by contacting the administrators of the site that has posted your mugshot has likely yielded less than satisfactory results, if any. Most e-mail responses from mugshot websites will give you the same answer that your attorney will provide if you ask him what legal retribution options you have –Mugshot Removal Service
So, if you’re unable to have the mugshot removed from the website it is posted on, the next logical step would be to find a way to have it removed from search engine results so that it becomes harder for people to find. Unfortunately, accomplishing this is easier said than done, as search engines like Google are limited in what they’re willing to monitor/remove within their search results.
What is Google Able to Remove from their Search Results?
“There is not much that you can do because all websites are allowed to post information that is freely available in the public domain, and anyone that shares this data online is protected by the Freedom of Information Act and the First Amendment.”
The only content that Google actively monitors within their search results is information that is being published by AdSense advertisers, as this data directly reflects the reputation of their company and its advertising efforts. With millions of new webpages being created each day, Google simply doesn’t have the staff, resources, or time to moderate the type of information that becomes available through their search results, especially not in relation to a single person’s mugshot or arrest record.
Although it is true that Google will sometimes de-index websites for performing unethical search engine optimization (SEO) techniques (i.e. – using automated software to build backlinks in an attempt to gain better rankings), the search engine has no ethical stance on protecting the character of individual citizens or businesses. In addition, most moderations performed by Google are conducted automatically by advanced computer algorithms that utilize complex calculations to detect fraudulent SEO activity. Because search engines have not yet become advanced enough to actually analyze the meaning of a web page’s content, and they simply don’t have enough employees to handle issues on a per case basis, there are very few situations in which Google will help you remove any content from their search engine.
In fact, Google will not take action to remove any content from organic search results unless a legitimate DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint has been filed. Search engines have become so flooded with copyright infringing material that it is already overwhelming for them to process all of the DMCA complaints that they are receiving on a daily basis, which is why there are still many websites in operation that violate copyright laws. Furthermore, many sites are immune to legal retribution related to DMCA complaints due to the provisions of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA), because their content is being posted by users, and not the site administrators.
Is it Possible to File a DMCA Against a Mugshot Site?
No. Online mugshot databases are not in violation of any copyright laws as they simply gather data from the official file systems of state/county law enforcement agencies and then provide this information within a centralized, easy to navigate database. In terms of filing complaints against mugshot sites, you really have no leverage because these sites are actually providing a public service to citizens and law enforcement.
DMCA notices are usually issued to websites that post copywritten songs, movies, informational products, and other intellectual property, and are therefore useless for sites that contribute towards the defamation/slander of businesses and individuals. Ultimately, trying to remove your mugshot from a site using a DMCA notice is an extremely ineffective method because mugshot databases fail to meet the most basic DMCA takedown requirement:
A page that contains copywritten content, which was published by the site owner/administrator, rather than by a site member/user.
How Do I Remove my Mugshot from Google Search Results?
There are really only two ways to remove your mugshot from Google search results – you can utilize positive content creation and distribution to push negative results out of the first couple pages of the search results (it should be noted that this only makes your mugshot hard to find, and does not completely eliminate it from the Internet), or you can attempt to have your mugshot removed from all of the sites that it is posted on.
Considering the fact that there are currently dozens of major mugshot websites online, going through the process of manually petitioning to remove your mugshot from each page would be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Thus, if you want to ensure complete mugshot removal, the only effective and timely way to do so would be to seek the assistance of an experienced online PR firm.
By leveraging industry connections with most of the major mugshot websites online we’re able to act on your behalf to have your mugshot removed from the web within a just a couple of weeks. Once the pages have been taken down, search engines will gradually begin to de-index the links and their meta-descriptions so that they no longer appear when someone searches for your name, business, or any other phrase.
After your Internet reputation has been fully repaired, we can launch a powerful monitoring/management campaign to ensure that no negative content about you or your business is able to proliferate. We can also begin creating quality content based on your preferences to overwhelm the search engines with positive pages that let you portray whatever image you’d like, giving you complete control over the perception of your character online.