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Google hits and arrest records
February 2, 2013 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I have a close friend who ran into some trouble with the law a couple of years ago. Now, when her name is Googled, her mug shot is pretty much the first hit. Is there a way to make this suck less for her and her young family?
posted by Optamystic to Law & Government (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
you can drown it out with loads of other positive noise. For example a bright and chirpy blog talking about safe banalities seeding her name and pictures all over the place will make the mug shot less evident. Just tag everything with the offending keywords.
posted by Phalene at 6:16 PM on February 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is a name change possible?
posted by TonyRobots at 6:27 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're looking to push the mug shot results out of view, there are a ton of websites she can set up an account with (with her real name) that will jump to the top of the results. Sites like twitter and flickr have a ton of google power. She doesn't need to post much, just one or two tweet updates, a couple of photos on flickr, have the account use her new name, and she can start filling up the google results with other stuff. Linkedin, tumblr, etc.
posted by andoatnp at 6:28 PM on February 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Depends on the site, the state your friend resides in, how much she wants to put into this in time and money, and her level of risk aversion.

While these images are part of the public record this does not mean sites are by default allowed to profit from her image. Getting a lawyer to draft a take down notice might work. Look into a DMCA request too. These tactics run the risk of backfiring with the Streisand effect.

Many of these sites are shady blackmail sites. They avoid being true extortionists because you can pay $100 (or whatever) to get any photo taken down.

I had this happen to me as well, and the site had a form you could fill out to have the image taken offline for free if you were the person. I was reluctant to fill it out because it asked for some personal information. I gave them a prior address and phone and to my surprise the photo was gone the next day.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:36 PM on February 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another vote for positive noise. Setup accounts with her real name on twitter, linkedin, flickr, about.me, flavors.me, brandyourself, goodreads, youtube, google+ and just about everything else. Post one or two things to each of them every few weeks. If she can setup a blog on one platform to occasionally post a recipe, and another to occasionally post mommy moments or whatever, that'll help too.

She might want to consider opting out from major data sites by following the directions here (though the step by step directions might be dated at this point), and she might want to look at the privacy policies of sites that host the problematic photos.

She can also try participating online using her real name, in positive ways, in other forums, (even doing things like reviewing products on Amazon using her real name) to add even more neutral and positive noise.
posted by grudgebgon at 6:42 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's an extremely similar thread from this morning that has advice as well.
posted by erst at 6:44 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


just read recently that 90-some-odd percent of google searches never leave the first page, opting instead (if the searched for item doesn't appear on the first page) to reword the search and try again. you don't have to undertake the onerous task of getting RID of it, you just have to push it off the front.

-Twitter account (post literally ANYTHING every other day for a month or two)
-facebook page
-google+ page
-myspace page
-Freindster page (are they still around?)
-LinkedIn page
-Tumblr account
-flickr account
-blogger, wordpress, etc
-set up an etsy shop, sell whatever's lying around
and etc etc etc
classmates, metafilter, reddit whatever...account in her name

as her friend...post, comment on, and link to all of these pages...one or two others doing the same...it will be gone in a week...
posted by sexyrobot at 6:45 PM on February 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


She can also use one account to post to a bunch of other accounts - like having Twitter post to google+ and facebook for her... which might cut down on how much work she needs to do while making more places seem active. I use hootsuite to scheduled tweets on twitter, and if you don't really care about the content you could set up weeks worth of tweets in a pretty short amount of time.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:47 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Judging from the photos that show up on the first pages for my name, Pinterest seems to provide more images than Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, etc. combined. She could sign up and follow and re-post from popular users.
posted by looli at 7:35 PM on February 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


One more form of positive "noise." A few letters to the editor of newspapers with on-line versions. I found out how enduring those are.
posted by wjm at 4:02 AM on February 3, 2013


She can also use IFTTT to magnify her "activity," tying together services that don't inherently talk to each other. Fill the air with chaff by automatically mirroring Flickr to Instagram and Tumblr and Wordpress and such.

Of course, in the end, she’ll have a different problem—rather than an old mug shot, folks searching her name will be finding that she's a chronic, vapid, over-sharer.
posted by mumkin at 10:09 AM on February 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had this happen to me as well, and the site had a form you could fill out to have the image taken offline for free if you were the person. I was reluctant to fill it out because it asked for some personal information. I gave them a prior address and phone and to my surprise the photo was gone the next day.

I represent a client who runs a number of public records search sites. I can tell you with authority that if you give them enough information to distinguish you from those in their database who share your name, they will remove you very quickly. Full name, age and a fairly recent address is usually enough. This is generally the case for the legit sites out there - Intelius, for example (not my client). While I understand the reluctance to provide your information to them, keep in mind they already have it, and a lot more, in their public records databases. And this process is universally free from the legit sites - if they're asking you to pay for the privilege, you want to steer clear.

While these images are part of the public record this does not mean sites are by default allowed to profit from her image. Getting a lawyer to draft a take down notice might work. Look into a DMCA request too.

DMCA won't work, because the subject of the mug shot doesn't own the copyright in the photo.
posted by schoolgirl report at 2:21 PM on February 3, 2013


Also, tell her to get/stay in shape by doing a bunch of 5K road races/5K charity walks! Win-win-win!
posted by Pax at 7:13 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


(sorry, what I mean is that results are posted on all sorts of websites that way, so she gets to get nice Google results, get in shape, and (usually) contribute to a worthy cause!).

I am a frequent public speaker in a high profile area of law, and I think my whole first couple of Google pages is races, dating from around 2002-now.
posted by Pax at 7:15 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


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