ALBANY – A proposal by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo would make all mugshots and booking information no longer public information, sealing them from public view.
Cuomo’s 2020 executive budget includes a measure that would labels the release of a person’s arrest photo or other booking information an “unwanted invasion of personal privacy.” The change would require amending the Freedom of Information Law.
A Cuomo spokesman said the proposal is in reaction to websites that post someone’s mugshots and then charge costly fees for those seeking removal.
Exceptions would be made when police release copies of an arrest photo to seek the public’s help, such as searching for a fugitive.
However, the New York News Publishers Association President, Diane Kennedy, said the change would allow the arrests of corrupt political officials and rapists and pedaphiles to be hidden from the public.
“Seems like an excellent way to ensure that the arrests of powerful, politically connected people remain secret. It also would allow arrests of suspected pedophiles and rapists to remain secret. That doesn’t seem to serve the public very well,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy proposed that New York ban websites from charging fees to remove mugshots and other arrest information. A Cuomo spokesman said this idea has been tried and failed in 15 other states.