contraband canoodling

An interesting stand-off is materializing between privacy advocates and open-government advocates. The controversy swirls over this page on the Metro Police Department’s webpage. The page features names, age, and clear pictures of people arrested for soliciting prostitutes and other sex-related crimes (mostly indecent exposure). The webpage is linked prominently from the Police Department’s main page.

Privacy advocates are claiming that the publication of these names and photos amounts to punishment without due process (and they’re right). However, the opposition claims that arrest records should be kept open:

“Records of arrests are public records, generally,” said Paul McMasters, of the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va.

Frankly, this is a load of crap. There’s no reason to make the information closed to the public, but their names and faces don’t need to be plastered on a constantly-updated website, either. This webpage serves as nothing but an attempt to shame and humiliate the people who have been arrested — and before they have even been convicted of a crime! A federal court order has been issued to take down the page, and Metro Police are currently assessing the order and determining how they will comply.

Guys? I do a little bit of work in the world of web technology. It ain’t that hard. Take it down.

4 Comments so far

  1. Lesley (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 9:00 am

    I love the guy that’s smiling. Wonder what he’s smiling about…

  2. Chris Wage (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 9:23 am

    Laugh and the world laughs with you — Weep and you weep alone?

  3. Amanda (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 4:15 pm

    What a shame, not a looker in the bunch.

  4. Jon (unregistered) on July 20th, 2006 @ 5:06 pm

    Somewhere in this has got be a mash-up possibility for some enterprising entrepreneur…

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