Google Whipped by Censorship Ruling in Max Mosley S&M Case

After a lengthy battle in a French court over unwanted S&M pictures showing in Google search results, former president of Formula One racing Max Mosley beat Google in a ruling that said the search engine was to “remove and cease, for a period of five years beginning two months after this decision, the appearance of nine images,” Reuters reported.

The images in question depict Mosley engaged in an S&M party with multiple prostitutes back in 2008. Rumors surfaced it was Nazi themed, but Mosley fiercely denied that aspect of the event; the costumes worn were prison garb.

Google said the ruling would require a new algorithm built specifically for this case in order to keep up with anyone who is reposting the images.

“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,” Google counsel Daphne Keller said in a statement.

Prior to the ruling, Google said it had already removed hundreds of pages for Mosley and would be willing to remove more. But this ruling, said Google, has “serious consequences for free expression.” reported Mosley’s take on censorship and Google’s role:

“The fundamental point is that Google could stop this material appearing, but they don’t, or they won’t as a matter of principle. My position is that if the search engines — if somebody were to stop the search engines producing the material, the actual sites don’t really matter because without a search engine, nobody will find it, it would be just a few friends of the person who posts it. The really dangerous thing are the search engines.”

Google was ordered to pay 1 euro in damages as well as 5,000 euros of Mosley’s court costs. Google said it would appeal the ruling.


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