Public data is a subject that has come under a lot of discussion lately as people strive to establish a set of rules for what should and shouldn’t be published. It’s already available, so what can it hurt?
One area where the publication of public information has come under fire is in the legal system. What should be made public, and how does the release of such information affect the assumption of innocence? As newspapers and reporting outlets look to digitize data, arrest records and other information, the need for regulation of this practice has even caught the eye of Poynter.
In the case discussed by this post, the issue is whether or not running a mug shot was the right thing to do IN PRINT, but what about online? If it’s bad enough to put it on thousands of papers, what about putting it on the world wide web?
In this article, the discussion about whether or not mugshot archives are ethical takes center stage, and it touches on ethical issues that concern much more than just mugshots and crime data.