Episode 878: Mugshots For Sale : Planet Money We go deep inside the market for mugshots. Is it extortion? Or is it a First Amendment right?
NPR logo Episode 878: Mugshots For Sale

Episode 878: Mugshots For Sale

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Mugshots can be big business. Planet Money reporter Karen Duffin got caught up in it.
Leontura/Getty Images

If you are one of the more than 70 million people who've been arrested in America, you probably have a mugshot. Websites have turned these mugshots into a business, posting mugshots and charging people to take them down.

If they don't pay up, the mugshot can make it hard to get jobs, dates, housing, even if they were never actually charged or convicted. Some people call it extortion. The websites call it a public service.

Today on the show, we go deep inside the online mugshot industry, where the First Amendment and our right to privacy clash in really complicated ways.

Music: "Psyche Peacock," "Groovy Bassline," and "Blues Prompt."

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