Max Mosley has filed a lawsuit against Google in the United Kingdom, demanding the search engine to remove images of the former Formula One head at a sex party.
The legal action, which looks to enforce a court order against the now-defunct News of the World tabloid in 2008 over the same pictures, will be a major milestone in legal proceedings concerning online privacy.
Mosley has already won on similar claims filed against Google in the French and German courts. The latest lawsuit, relating only to the pictures from the News of the World article, alleges that Google is mishandling private information and violating the Data Protection Act.
Mosley filed legal action against News of the World after the tabloid released pictures and videos of him participating in a five-hour S&M session with five prostitutes in an apartment in Chelsea. In addition, the newspaper falsely accused Mosley of being part of a “sick Nazi orgy,” which is particularly offensive as Mosley is a son of Sir Oswald Mosley, who was a former head of the British Union of Fascists.
Mosley won the case against the newspaper, being awarded £60,000. The court found the tabloid to have grossly invaded Mosley’s privacy, in a party where all the sexual acts carried out were consensual and harmless, in addition to being supposedly private. The gathering also featured no such Nazi themes.
“The scale of the distress and indignity in this case is difficult to comprehend. It is probably unprecedented,” then said Justice Eady, who presided over the case back in 2008.
In accordance with the lawsuit filed against Google, Mosley is looking to settle the matter legally after what was said to be several attempts to persuade the search engine to resolve the issue without going to court, according to Mosley’s law firm Payne Hicks Beach.
“As the gateway to the internet Google makes enormous profits and has great influence, so I have not taken this action lightly,” Mosley said. “But Google should operate within the law rather than according to rules it makes itself. It cannot be allowed to ignore judgments in our courts.”
Mosley’s filed lawsuit against Google comes as the company is embroiled in another online privacy issue concerning the “right to be forgotten” legislation that was passed by the European Union’s Court of Justice.
With the law, Europeans were given the right to request search engines to take down search results concerning themselves. Google has received almost 100,000 requests and have addressed about half of them, but the regulators for the European Union are not satisfied with the way that Google is handling the takedown requests.