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Article posted: 3/17/2013 8:00 AM

Newspaper query prompts state to look into mug shot websites

By Josh Stockinger

In Illinois, there's interest by governments in looking into mug shot websites. But that's as far as it goes.

In Florida, though, lawmakers are eyeing a controversially broad proposal that would force the operator of any website publishing arrest information to remove it within 15 days of written notification that a featured subject avoided a conviction. Violators would face weekly fines and, after 45 days, a legal "presumption of defamation of character."

Locally, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office has taken several complaints about mug shot sites and is looking into them, including one that came up during Daily Herald inquiries, spokeswoman Maura Possley said.

The Illinois Secretary of State's office also opened inquiries after the newspaper asked for any public records regarding two limited liability companies that purport to own mug shot sites, a spokeswoman said. State law requires foreign LLCs to register in Illinois when they do business here, and violators can be fined.

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