French court orders Google to block Mosley 'orgy photos'

Max Mosley (file photo) Mr Mosley won landmark damages for breach of privacy in the UK in 2008

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Google, the world's top search engine, has been ordered by a French court to remove links to images of ex-motorsport boss Max Mosley with prostitutes.

Google said the ruling "should worry all those who defend freedom of expression on the internet". It intends to appeal, French media say.

Mr Mosley successfully sued the UK's now-defunct News of the World after it ran a story in 2008 claiming he had organised an orgy with Nazi overtones.

He won damages for breach of privacy.

The News of the World secretly filmed the former president of motor sport's world governing body with five prostitutes and published a front-page story.

He won £60,000 ($90,000) damages after a judge ruled that there was no substance to the allegation that there had been a Nazi theme and found that his privacy had been breached.

'Republished again and again'

Mr Mosley won a similar ruling in France in 2011 when a judge ordered the newspaper's owner News Corp to pay £32,000 ($48,000) in costs and damages because copies of the paper and the video were circulated across the Channel.

Speaking in 2011, Mr Mosley told a UK inquiry into a phone-hacking scandal at News Corp that he was pursuing legal action against Google in Germany and France over the search results.

Mr Mosley said Google had agreed to remove links to material from the story on a case-by-case basis.

But he claimed that when he had asked the firm to re-programme its technology to ensure it did not show up at all in searches about him it had refused as "a matter of principle" even though it was "technically feasible".

"I think you cannot underestimate that if someone puts a picture on the web that they shouldn't, that will go on forever unless action is taken," he said.

"As soon as a search engine finds it is available to everybody and the thing you sued over and won over is republished again and again... Clearly that can be stopped and should be stopped in my opinion," Mr Mosley said at the time.

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