XXX/ February 2, 1970

♠ in germany with have beautiful privacy laws, like for instance the ‘right of persons to their own likeness’ also known as ‘das recht am eigenen bild‘.

♠ this means that every person has the right to basically decide whether and in what context pictures of someones own likeness can be published. usually with this law, pictures cannot be published without the persons permission. (there are some exceptions to that rule, like e.g. if you are considered a ‘public person’.)

♠ mug shots in america however are the pure opposite of this fundamental right. a mug shot is a picture, that is taken as part of an arrest. in germany this is possible done during an ‘erkennungsdienstliche behandlung‘. so if the picture is taken by law enforcement officers in the US, who are in most cases funded publicly, than this picture is treated as public domain, because it was taken during their work for the goverment. goverments are funded by taxes. people pay taxes. so the picture should be owned by the public. ergo it is public domain.

♠ for me as a german citizen it is bonkers to think that a picture of my face could end up in the public domain, because it is quite possible that this could happen: if i would visit the states and lets say got caught speeding on a highway with my car, i could get arrested. if i would be arrested, it is very likely that a mug shot of me will be taken and bam!: my face is now in the public domain with all the mspi bs included. there are some new developments in some states due to harassment and doxxing, but i would likely not check the current local legislation about mug shots release before inadvertently driving too fast.