Removing Mugshots From Google Images

January 25, 2021
removing mugshots from google images
removing mugshots from google images
Mugshots taken at the worst time can haunt people online for too long

How Mugshots Get Onto Google Images

Getting arrested is often one of the worst days in a person’s life — and often it happens after a period of high emotions. And this, when a person is at their worst, is when a mugshot is taken. A mugshot of someone red-eyed from crying, red-nosed or otherwise flush from drinking or being on intoxicants, or bruised from a fight. These are not pictures most want to be remembered in. Removing mugshots from google images

Then, to add insult to injury, mugshots are taken of everyone who was ever arrested and those mugshots can then be accessed by anyone in the media who can choose to throw them on their websites. Google’s search engine crawlers then ‘pick up’ on those news-hosted images that have metadata listing the person’s full name. Google Images then pairs the person’s name with the mugshot and, if they don’t have many other websites listing their name and photo, that mugshot photo gets listed on the first page whenever anyone types the person’s name.

However, it isn’t just news organizations that publish mugshots. In part attempt to keep communities aware and in part to make money, individuals and groups have created websites like mugshots.com and floridamugshots.org that allow visitors to search through inmate arrest records and mugshots. The more they search, the more “relevant” your image becomes to Google and the higher the likelihood of it being indexed high on Google Images. This is especially true for those people who have unique names or who live in a smaller community as, depending upon the searcher’s settings, Google will show local relevant searches first whenever the searcher makes a request.

Why This is Problematic & What is Being Done

However, there are some very big problems with how this system is set-up. While there is something to be said about warning the community about violent individuals, “arrested” does not mean “found guilty”. Too many people are finding that their career and social prospects are being dashed whenever someone does a name search. Additionally, even when a person is convicted of a crime, their time has been served. Their penance to the American Justice System fulfilled. It should not be up to the algorithmic whims of a tech company to drag a person’s reputation indefinitely — and to do so on the most used website in the world.

So if you find yourself with your mugshot on Google Images, the first thing to know is you are not alone. This is a massive problem and the good news is that people everywhere are starting to realize it. For example, in 2019, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed a bill into law that forces any website hosting mug shots online to remove them free of charge should the person with the mugshot be found not guilty or the charges otherwise dropped and/or expunged.

Removing Mugshots From Google Images

Other states are following Oregon’s lead but it still doesn’t resolve everything as this law and others are only available for those who are found not guilty. For these situations and others, let’s take a look at a step by step guide on how to get your mugshot off of Google Images and other locations:

First, Understand the Problem

Finding your mugshot, your face, up on Google Images can be a shock and it is easy to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and other strong emotions. So first, breathe and understand that this is a problem but it is not an unsolvable one. And the first step to solving any problem is to step back and understand it. To understand the problem of having your face on Google Images you must find the answers to the following two questions:

1. Is my goal to get it off Google Images and search results or off the web entirely?

Most people are going to answer that they want both but it is possible to prevent your mugshot from being shown in Google Images without getting it off the web entirely — and there are some incentives to doing this. Removing your image from just Google search results, including Google Images, can be done by yourself and without having to involve another institution. This can save you money, time, and headache and will still have the result of your face not showing up in searches.

However, your mugshot will still be on the web and anyone who knows where to search can still come across it.

2. Who or what entity controls the source page of where Google Images is finding my information?

No one is directly uploading your mugshot to Google Images. What is happening is that Google Images is picking up your mugshot connected with your name from another website. In order to get Google Images to stop picking up, indexing, and thereby showing off a mugshot, you must first determine the content source and who controls it.

Do not make the mistake of thinking your mugshot is being hosted by only one site. In many, many cases a mugshot can be uploaded by a news article and then taken by an unreputable site or other “news” organizations steal the mugshot and host it on their own website. Thus, it is important to find first who controls the source page that first uploaded a mugshot as well as all of the other source pages. You can do this by:

  1. Go to Google Image Search and drag the mugshot image you’re trying to delete into the search box.
  2. A new page will open with all the links where that image is found. Write down every site you see.
  3. Don’t forget to dig deeper and use the “view other sizes link.” A good tip to know is that the largest image will often be the site where the original photo was held.

It is likely that you will find that more than one website is hosting a mugshot and you might feel like this project is too big, but don’t. Stay calm, the purpose of this step is to simply write down every website that is hosting it. One step at a time.

Examples of sources that are likely to host your mugshot and name include:

  • A news story
  • An “activist’s” blog
  • A Pinterest page
  • Someone else’s social media page
  • A mugshot-specific website

Next, Take Action

Removing Mugshots from Google Images

In some situations, if your mugshot is old and it is hosted on a noncommunicative website or other source page, you can simply get the image removed from Google Images by using Google’s “Remove Outdated Content” tool.

If that doesn’t resolve your issue, contact the website owner directly about removing your images from the page. If they say no, then you have a couple of options.

First, if you have been cleared of the charges related to your arrest, you can show them the relevant court documents and use either the law, where it is on your side such as in Oregon, to force them to take down the information. If this doesn’t work, you can try going through this Google Removal troubleshooter and try and force the takedown.

If you are able to get your mugshot and name removed from all the source websites and locations, you will still want to to use the Remove Outdated Content tool to ensure that Google Images no longer has it in their own indexes.

No Luck? Hire a Removal Service

If the host of the website or other locations refuse to take down your mugshot and Google’s tools are not helping in removing your image and name from its results, then next step is to contact an internet removal service like our team at Erase Mugshots. A removal service like ours has both more clout and more experience in getting website owners to back down. We have a highly sophisticated team that specializes in getting Google to remove image and personal information from websites you do not control and who are not acquiescing.

In tandem to this, it is always a good idea to work towards expunging your record wherever possible. Getting your record expunged is no easy task and it does require that the crime for which you were charged of falls within the purview on expungement law (this means minor offenses, primarily of non-violent and non-sexual crimes).

The plus side of expungement is that it will fully remove your arrest history and give you a more legitimate legal standpoint to get Google to remove images from the web. The problem with expungement is that generally the law will require an individual to wait a set period of time for making the case — and most people do not want to wait years to get their mugshot off of search engine results. Thus, it’s a good idea to work first towards the immediate goal of removal with a professional removal team first or in tandem with the longterm goal of erasing this moment from your past legally.

For more information about our services and how we can bring normalcy back to your life by getting rid of the problems of your past and removing mugshots from Google Images, contact our team at 866-626-9930 now.