Google Ordered To Censor Max Mosley Orgy Photos: Sadomasochistic Sex Party Removed From Search Results

 @ryanWneal
on November 07 2013 1:03 PM

A French judge ordered Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) on Wednesday to remove images from its search index that show the former president of the International Automobile Federation, which governs Formula One racing, participating in a sadomasochistic orgy.

Max Mosley sued Google in 2011, demanding that the world’s largest search engine censor links to a 2008 article in the defunct News of the World tabloid that included photos and a video of Mosley participating in the sex party. Mosley argues that it’s against French law to distribute these images without his consent, as they were taken in a private space.

A British court already ruled in favor of Mosley in a lawsuit against News of the World and awarded Mosley £60,000 ($96,000) in damages. A French court had also ruled that the recording of the images was illegal.

The News of the World, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., was closed down in 2011 during the British phone-hacking scandal.

As part of a settlement reached this week between Google and Mosley, Google is required to remove nine images from its search results and pay Mosley one euro ($1.33). If the images are ever found on Google in 2014 and beyond, Google would be fined 1,000 euros ($1,333) for each infraction.   

Google plans to appeal the decision, according to the New York Times, on the grounds that it limits free speech and would force the Mountain View, Calif.-based company to block search results without context. Google said it removed hundreds of images that violated the French ruling that the images were illegal, and that search engine filters will not stop the images from being accessed online.

There is also concern that the decision could open the gates for more people to demand Google remove images, videos and links from search results. Google equated the court order to building a “censorship machine.”

“This not just a case about Google, but the entire Internet industry,” Daphne Keller, Google’s associate general counsel, said in a statement in September. “If Mr. Mosley’s proposal prevails, any startup could face the same daunting and expensive obligation to build new censorship tools -- despite the harm to users’ fundamental rights and the ineffectiveness of such measures.”

Mosley is suing Google in countries that have stricter policies regarding data privacy than the U.S. and U.K. Google is already facing a number of privacy lawsuits around Europe, and Mosley has also sued Google in Germany. A decision on that case is expected in early 2014. 

Mosley is the youngest son of Sir Oswald Mosley, the infamous British fascist leader of the 1930s, and his socialite wife Diana Mitford. Their wedding in Germany was attended by Hitler and Goebbels. They were jailed during World War II, shortly after Max was born.    

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