A provision in the Senate budget bill passed in June 2014 would create restrictions for online jail mug shots and ban companies from charging people to take them down. In Wake County and surrounding areas, mugshots are posted by news publications such as the News & Observer and WRAL. Usually, the mugshots are for individuals charged with felony crimes and people charged with misdemeanors are not posted. However, there is an entire industry that posts mugshots when people are charged and then require payment to have it removed, which some consider to be a form of extortion. These fees can range into the thousands of dollars. If a person is subsequently acquitted of the charge or the charges are dismissed, the fees still apply to request removal. For news organizations, requests can currently be made for removal, but doing so is at the discretion of the publisher.
If a person or organization requests a copy of a mug shot they must provide a written statement promising not to post the photo on a website that requires a fee for it to be removed.
If the budget passes with this provision in it, it would be a great protection for the privacy of people that have been cleared of any wrongdoing or criminal activity.