Digital Transformation

Google given two months to filter search content after French court rules in favour of Max Mosley's privacy case

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

Google

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max mosley article

November 7, 2013 | 3 min read

Max Mosley has won the latest stage in his campaign to make Google remove content from its search engine that relates to his sexual past after a French court ruled in his favour.

Mosley argued that the issue constituted a breach of his privacy and the former Formula One head has been at loggerheads with the tech giant over it.

Ruling: A French court has ruled in favour of Max Mosley

In 2008, Mosley successfully sued the now defunct News of the World for breach of privacy after the paper ran an article about him taking part in an S&M orgy. He was awarded £60,000 in damages.

However, when the News of the World published images from the orgy, they quickly travelled across the internet and have proven impossible for Mosley to have removed entirely.

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In an attempt to prevent ease of access to the material, Mosley took Google to court to argue that the search engine should be forced to introduce a filter to prevent the material appearing in any search results. On Wednesday, a court in France agreed and ordered Google to find a way to remove links to images of the orgy and gave the company two months to establish a method.

The ruling is a blow for Google, which has staunchly argued that any filter would be a “dangerous new censorship tool”.

In a statement released after the ruling, Google’s associate general counsel Daphne Keller said: “This is a troubling ruling with serious consequences for free expression and we will appeal it.

“Even though we already provide a fast and effective way of removing unlawful material from our search index, the French court has instructed us to build what we believe amounts to a censorship machine.”

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, 73-year-old Mosley said it was not his intention to censor the internet, but said that Google had a responsibility to ensure “illegal” pictures were taken down.

Click here for more information on Google’s European battle with privacy law

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