Mug Shot Websites Cashing In on Booking Photos?

Websites can profit from charging people to have their mug shots taken down.
6:10 | 03/07/13

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Transcript for Mug Shot Websites Cashing In on Booking Photos?
Busted by the cops outed on line and forced to pay to re claim your anonymity that is your worst nightmare come true. How mug shot web sites are now making big bucks exposing those nabbed for even the smallest offenses. ABC's Steve -- in -- goes inside a booming online ministry that surprisingly legal. And potentially destructive. There's something about seeing someone in a mug shot in what could be their most unfortunate photo ever. It's tons of people watching on the Internet and it's not just the jailhouse photos of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan Mel Gibson and this famous one from Paris Hilton. In the past two years a new industry has been born with more than sixty new web sites like who's arrested dot com and Atlanta mug shots dot -- We don't know what's wrong fundamentally we know what's wrong but in a country that. Just gives people the access to information. In an age where information is available so quickly how do you stop. Here's how it works the sites legally download the latest mug shots from police web sites published the faces of alleged lawbreakers on the Internet. And then often charge the accused of -- sometimes hundreds of dollars to pull all the photos now. -- we've been tracking these cases for months -- McMahon a computer technician in Atlanta says he paid 75 dollars to take down an old booking photo from a -- He says he hasn't had a drink and five years and now has a daughter and a child. On the way there wasn't a lot but it wasn't a little -- after they took it down they just started popping up everywhere kind of like whack a ball. You know you you hit one down its pop -- other places -- -- onto Roddy a corporate account manager told -- she's innocent. It says she's been fighting this for more than a year just like you can't move -- what your life. I mean everybody goes to Google and Allen and just to see who you are I'm not a criminal I'm not -- anything. She says she feels like she's been violated twice first by the husband who in divorce papers she claims repeatedly attacked her. -- -- Then by the mug shot industry which legally publish the booking photos from what she says was a false arrest after police were called to her home. Later cleared from her record. Just how -- and on line is just a constant reminder off my nightmare. When she fastest one of these sites to keeper photo private they said yes but she'd have to pay 399. Dollars and she -- She says while she was negotiating with one -- the picture kept showing up on others. You know all they want is money to take the pictures down is not just. That I take my photograph -- on this site it comes -- on this side and it pops up somewhere else. Over and over and over again so went it -- doesn't stop. We went looking for a voice from the mug shot website industry but found the contact information on the -- often led nowhere. Making the owners quite difficult to track down. So you're just a businessman. In this scenario. And a businessman and an advocate we did find this man in Louisiana who asked to remain in shadow. Think of how many people have been arrested. Now put a small service fee on data -- of people and you can see why the industry is sort of taken off. He told us to -- and TJ and says he's just a middle man hired by thousands of Americans each year. Desperate to get their booking photos taken down on his web site called remove slander dot com he charges up to thirteen hundred dollars forest -- And he swears that he's not in bed with the owners of these sites is this a dirty business that children. I don't consider -- -- what I do. What I do is help people. In an email we heard back from the owners of busted mug shots dot com -- popular site now facing a lawsuit for more than 250000. People in Ohio. Accusing the company of exploiting their photos for commercial gain. Company CEO Kyle -- told us he's providing a public service saying that the public's right to know about local arrests in crime outweighs this concern. And that loss of determined these records must be disclosed to the public. And he told us when the per -- is exonerated or found not guilty. The record is removed at no charge Sofia on Roddy says that was not her experience dealing with other companies she says she explained over and over again how she was the victim. And how the photos were preventing her from obtaining employment. And she provided these court document showing that prosecutors cleared her case. This was a wrongful arrests. And the case was dismissed by the state attorney's office. But her picture remains published to this day. Our inside expert says the real problem is the law saying the industry would go away if authorities stop treating booking photos like trophies. The police can stop this overnight in this is -- -- that no one is talking about why are we posting the mug shot of someone who simply -- traffic court why is there a need. Mr. sheriff to post -- morals. Georgia lawmaker Roger Bruce is one man trying to shut down the mug shot industry. Pushing for a law that would make it a crime to publish a booking photo and then charge a fee to have it taken down but only in Georgia. We're we're trying to do for his role is to make it. To remove the incentive. For putting out there -- we -- so we don't want them to be able to charge a fee to remove these pictures. And -- thought is if the if if they can't charge a fee land while -- out. He says sheriff's departments across the country should be able to label their images with water marks and police there use. And says that -- -- -- and other victims should be able to sue when police say the photos have been mishandled. It just destroys your life you know in my family my friends it's just. I don't I just don't know how to express in words how devastating it has been for me. You are defending yourself as long as the pictures out there in defending yourself telling your story this is what happened I'm not guilty. She's now found temporary work and she stepped away from the fight deciding -- -- live with the pictures and explain her story one person at a time. For Nightline I'm Steve -- -- -- in Atlanta.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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