Connect with us

Opinion

Wehoville’s ArrestLogs: Unbiased or Can You Pay to Remove a Name?

Published

on

Opinion by WeHoDaily publisher Darin Weeks

Wehoville has decided to publish the name, age and charges of individuals arrested in West Hollywood, and apparently of individuals arrested elsewhere who reside in or near West Hollywood.

[Editors note: the video attached to this post talks about mugshots and paid removal services, however Wehoville appears to only be publishing arrest records, NOT mugshots. And we DO NOT know the terms about removal services or if this is done for a fee.]

Simply driving with an expired license could get you arrested in West Hollywood, and your record might haunt you for decades if the information is put online. This could affect your ability to find work, housing or even your relationships.

It is a curious decision to post arrests for Wehoville publisher Henry Scott considering that he, himself, has claimed to have been unfairly arrested by West Hollywood Sheriff’s deputies. While he has “come out” about this incident, others in the same situation might not have the platform or circumstances where they can brush off an arrest that becomes known. Even if they are later found not guilty.

There are myriad issues raised by this policy, the most troubling of which is that the data provider offers an “unpublish” service via its pages, and Wehoville’s implementation of the data theoretically allows the provider to add or remove information at will. Whether they have ever or would ever utilize that capability is unknown (see technical discussion later in this article).

Wehoville’s data provider for publishing arrests offers the ability for an individual to request removal. Terms for having your data removed are not disclosed.
Arrest information on Wehoville leads to the LocalCrimeNews website where a form to begin “unpublishing” is available.

Then there is the question about the terms for which a listing might be removed. We don’t know the specific criteria for removal for this provider, but we have read about removal services for mugshots being offered for a fee. Wehoville’s provider does not seem to offer any guidelines explaining who should or should not request a removal. They apparently welcome any request.

ALSO READVICE NEWS
When Your Arrest Photo Appears on a Mugshot Website
Lawmakers are cracking down on sites like Mugshots.com and UnpublishArrest.com. At such a mushrooming online nexus of extortion and blackmail, will the legislation make any difference?

We’re very troubled about this practice for many reasons, and this list is not even complete…

  • Publishing has an immediate effect on an individual’s reputation and to a large degree is irrevocable, regardless of innocence, guilt or extenuating circumstances.
  • It appears that under the right circumstances, an individual can have their name removed from Wehoville’s list. Is this editorially neutral?
  • Does the removal involve money? Or favor higher income individuals, perhaps with resources to hire an attorney?
  • Does this arrest publishing policy disproportionately impact people of color and homeless youth (which, especially in our area, are more likely to be LGBTQ+)?
  • What about arrests for drugs and sex work? Should Wehoville aid in dissemination of arrest information that might last an individuals lifetime once unleashed on the Internet?
  • Public shame and embarrassment, especially closer to home on Wehoville’s pages, would seem to increase the demand for “unpublish” and perhaps services offered or advertised via Wehoville’s data provider pages.
  • Wehoville has ceded a large amount of control over these disclosures to an entity outside our community and beyond even their own staff and publisher. And that company, in theory (because of the manner of technical implementation), can add or remove information from Wehoville pages without Wehoville’s knowledge or consent.
  • The LAPD fought Wehoville’s data provider or related/predecessor companies all the way to the US Supreme Court. We are still reviewing the litigation history but issues included commercial use of arrestee information. Our major law enforcement agencies do not appear to be in favor of widespread publishing of arrests prior to convictions.
  • People can still be arrested in West Hollywood for reasons that are not entirely aligned with our community values. Our laws are not the only ones that govern. Or residents can be arrested outside of WeHo and then be listed in the ArrestLogs’s on Wehoville.
  • Our local and state legislators have sought to limit the dissemination of arrest information and to provide ways for people to seal prior arrests. Wehoville aiding in publicizing this information to the world makes cleaning up the past more difficult.
  • Finally, there are the obvious issues about simply even unbiased disclosure of this information — publishing can have serious repercussions on an individual not yet convicted of the related crime including problems with future employment, housing and even relationships. Some publications rationalize that to publish this information is in essence a non-judicial penalty or punishment.

How Data Provider Might “Unpublish” an Arrest

This image shows how Wehoville has integrated arrest records from an outside provider. The arrest records that appear to be published by Wehoville are actually on a “page within a page” — this is called an iFrame. So while the outside page is shown to be at www.wehoville.com, the inside page (marked in red) with the records on a page at unitedreporting.com. United Reporting in theory can change information on this page instantly. We reviewed a number of other partner websites which appear to use a similar implementation. So, if it wished, UnitedReporting.com could instantly add or remove information from any website with this configuration.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ryan Robert Gierach

    September 16, 2019 at 5:12 PM

    Absolutely brilliant reporting.
    Kudos!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Advertisement

This Just In…

Trending

%d bloggers like this: