Orlando Sentinel by David Harris
June 21, 2018
He expects some lawyers will band together to form class action lawsuits.
“It gives them stronger tools to go after these guys who are really just modern day extortionists,” Plakon said.
The law is aimed at companies who keep photos of innocent people online forever, harming their reputation if someone does a Google search on them. To charge a fee to remove the photo is akin to a ransom, Plakon said.
It allows a person whose arrest photo is posted on a website to request that the image be taken down. The company is required to do so within 10 days or face a daily $1,000 fine, plus attorney fees and court costs.
The law allows individuals to sue the companies.
Lawyer Mark NeJame said his office receives calls daily about removing mug shots. He said he doubts the law will be effective without the possibility of mug shot-site owners being charged with a crime.
“The civil aspect I don’t think has enough teeth in it,” NeJame said. “It’s going to take the fear of criminal prosecution to strike the fear in these predators.”
The Orlando Sentinel publishes arrest photos from Orange County in an online photo blotter that is updated daily. The photos are automatically removed after 30 days and there is no fee involved.
Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, said the law does not apply to news organizations because they don’t charge a fee. She said she’s sympathetic to the bill because it stops exploitation.