First they came for the mugshot websites, but I said nothing…

Gigaom

As described in a New York Times story on the weekend — one that for some reason chose to save this information until the end — Google (s goog) has tweaked its search algorithm and downgraded the Page Rank of so-called “mugshot” websites, which post police snapshots of random people and in some cases charge to have them removed. MasterCard has also taken steps to cut such sites off from using its online payment systems.

Everyone seems pretty happy about this turn of events so far (except the mugshot site operators, of course), but I confess that I find the whole thing a little disturbing.

Obviously, Google tweaks its algorithms all the time to boost or lower the ranking of different types of content. And both it and MasterCard are private corporations that can do whatever they wish — within reason — when it comes to their business. We may…

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