Max Mosley has launched a chilling new attack on Press freedom, with an extraordinary legal bid to scrub records of his notorious German-themed orgy from history.
The former Formula
One boss also wants to restrict reporting on the £3.8million his family trust spends bankrolling the controversial Press regulator Impress.
He has taken legal action against a range of newspapers -- the Daily Mail, The Times, The
Sun and at least one other national newspaper -- demanding they delete any references to his sadomasochistic sex party and never mention it again.
However, in a move that could have devastating consequences both for Press freedom
and for historical records, Mr Mosley is now using data protection laws to try to force newspapers to erase any mention of it. He has also insisted that the newspapers stop making references to the fact he bankrolls Impress -- the highly controversial,
state-approved Press regulator.
Yesterday, MPs warned against data protection laws being used to trample Press freedoms. Conservative MP Bill Cash said:
The freedom of the Press is paramount and
it would be perverse to allow historical records to be removed on the basis of data protection. If data protection can be used to wipe out historical records, then the consequences would be dramatic.
Whittingdale, a Tory former Culture Secretary, said:
Data protection is an important principle for the protection of citizens. However, it must not be used to restrict the freedom of the Press.
In his action, the multimillionaire racing tycoon claimed that the Daily Mail's owner, Associated Newspapers, had breached data protection principles in 34 articles published since 2013 -- including many opinion pieces defending the
freedom of the Press. These principles are designed to stop companies from excessive processing of people's sensitive personal data or from holding on to people's details for longer than necessary, and come with exemptions for journalism that is in
the public interest.
Google has struck a private settlement deal with Max Mosley over images that show the ex-Formula One chief having private fun with sex workers.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mosley and Google had agreed to end the lengthy legal row in
Germany, France and the UK.
But terms of the deal between the two parties were kept secret. It's also unclear whether Google agreed to censor access to the material.
In 2013, Google was ordered by a French court to remove links to nine
images of Mosley cavorting with prostitutes, none of which were pornographic. At the time, Google claimed the ruling was troubling and argued that it had serious consequences for free expression .
And indeed the right to free speech
has now given way to the right to not be offended, especially when the demand is backed up by violence. So now Google may as well give in to the demands for censorship as everyone else has anyway.
How are you implementing the recent Court of Justice of
the European Union (CJEU) decision on the right to be forgotten?
The recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union has profound consequences for search engines in Europe. The court found that certain users have
the right to ask search engines like Google to remove results for queries that include the person's name. To qualify, the results shown would need to be inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant or excessive.
Since this ruling
was published on 13 May 2014, we've been working around the clock to comply. This is a complicated process because we need to assess each individual request and balance the rights of the individual to control his or her personal data with the public's
right to know and distribute information.
We look forward to working closely with data protection authorities and others over the coming months as we refine our approach. The CJEU's ruling constitutes a significant change for
search engines. While we are concerned about its impact, we also believe that it's important to respect the Court's judgement and we are working hard to devise a process that complies with the law.
When you search for a name, you
may see a notice that says that results may have been modified in accordance with data protection law in Europe. We're showing this notice in Europe when a user searches for most names, not just pages that have been affected by a removal.
Max Mosley has launched a new legal claim against Google, the search engine giant, for reproducing sexual images related to an expose in the News of the
Proceedings have been issued against Google's British arm and its California-based parent company, claiming that continuing to link to the images is a misuse of private information and a breach of data protection laws.
spokesman for Google said: We have worked with Mr Mosley to address his concerns and taken down hundreds of URLs [internet links] about which he has notified us.
Sources in the company said they would fight the new High Court claim.
A German court has ruled today that Google must block all access in the country to images of a sadomasochistic orgy involving the former Formula One boss Max Mosley.
The pictures, taken from a video filmed by the now-defunct News of the World and
published in an article in 2008, were judged by the court to seriously violate Mosley's privacy. The paper was fined for a breach of privacy.
Google has resisted Mosley's attempts to make it block all access to the widely-circulated images,
saying that to do so sets a disturbing precedent for internet censorship.
The search engine giant said it planned to appeal today's decision from a Hamburg court, which has ordered the company to prevent any pictures, links or even
thumbnails images from the orgy to show up on the google.de site.
Google has been ordered by a French court to remove links to images of Max Mosley with prostitutes.
Google said the ruling should worry all those who defend freedom of expression on the internet . It intends to appeal.
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 Formula One chief with
five prostitutes and published a front-page story.
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 .
Max Mosley was famously the victim of a spectacular 2008 sting by News of the World which posted photos and video of him participating in a sadomasochistic sex party that the paper described as a sick Nazi orgy with hookers.
The High Court
ruled that there was no evidence that the sex party had been intended to be an enactment of Nazi behavior or adoption of any of its attitudes. It also found that there had been no public interest or other justification for the
The court ordered News of the World to remove the material in question from its Web site, naturally, and there the story might have ended. Except, of course, that the photos and video continue to live on the Internet,
via social media and on Web sites maintained by individuals.
Although initially deserving of sympathy for the intrusion, Mosley has been calling for the repressive censorship of the internet in his vindictive quest to get the genie put back in the
Mosley has asked a Paris court during the past week to order Google to create an algorithm to somehow censor all such photos from its service and search engine, now and forever. His lawyer told the court, the Tribunal de Grande Instance,
that if Google France refused to remove the offending images it should face fines.
Google responded in a statement, noting that it had always honoured his requests to remove links to material that obviously violated the High Court order:
We sympathize with Mr. Mosley's situation, But his proposal to filter the Web would censor legitimate speech, restrict access to information, and stifle innovation.
Google noted that there was already a
solution to the problem: Going after the actual publishers of the material, and working with Google through our existing and effective removals process.
The French court said it would issue a ruling on Oct. 21. Mosley has filed a similar
case in Hamburg that is to be heard this month.
Former motorsport boss turned privacy campaigner Max Mosley has had his appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights rejected. Mosley had hoped to overturn a May ruling establishing that media outlets were not required to notify the
subjects of stories in advance of publication. But the court announced that that judgment would be final.
Solicitor Mark Stephens, who represented Index on Censorship, the Media Legal Defence Initiative and other interested parties in the case,
This decision by the Grand Chamber and the previous decision by the court underline the recommendation made by the UK parliament's Culture Media and Sport Committee. This is a great day for free speech in Britain
and throughout Europe.
Index on Censorship news editor Padraig Reidy commented: I
Index submitted its concerns about Mr Mosley's prior-notification plans as we recognised the threat such an
obligation would pose to investigative journalism. While privacy is of course a concern, forcing newspapers to reveal stories would have a serious chilling effect.
Max Mosley has began an appeal against the European Court rejection of his attempt to extend privacy laws. He had demanded that newspapers about to expose details of someone's private life are forced to warn the individual before they do so. This would
give the person time to seek an injunction to stop publication.
But last month the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg threw out the demand, saying it could have a chilling effect on journalism.
Now he has taken up his last
option -- applying for a hearing before a 17-judge Grand Chamber of the same court.
A statement from Mosley's lawyers, Collyer Bristow said:
Despite the court's "severe criticisms" of the News of
the World, this and other tabloid newspapers could use the same techniques tomorrow to obtain and publish intimate photographs and details of the sex lives of individuals, without notice and in the knowledge that it is wholly unlawful.
Privacy has been the subject of considerable public and media debate in the last month and a ruling from the Grand Chamber of the Court is needed upon this important issue to close a clear gap in UK law
Ex Formula 1 boss Max Mosley has lost his European Court of Human Rights bid to force newspapers to warn people before exposing their private lives.
He said the Strasbourg verdict was disappointing but he may appeal, to keep fighting for
tighter privacy laws: [I'm] obviously disappointed, but it's satisfying that they've been extremely critical of the News of the World.
Mosley won his 2008 High Court battle after a judge ruled there was no justification for the News of the
World's front-page article about him paying five women to take part in a sado-masochistic orgy.
The tabloid reported that the orgy involving Mosley, the son of fascist leader Oswald Mosley, had Nazi overtones, but this was rejected by the judge.
Although he was awarded £ 60,000 damages, everyone had learned the details of his sexual preferences, and he argued money alone could not restore his reputation. He said once a story had been published,
you could not un-publish it, and the damage had been done.
He took his case to the Human Rights Court, challenging UK laws which allow publication without giving targets advanced warning. The court clearly had some sympathy for Mosley's
individual case, but said it had to look more broadly and assess the balance between an individual's right to privacy and the media's right to freedom of expression under the UK's legal system.
The UK, along with other contracting states, has a
margin of appreciation - ie some leeway in the way it protects people's right to privacy. Taking that into account, the court found that the mix of rights and remedies available to people in the UK - which includes actions for damages, injunctions
when the person knows of an imminent story, and regulation of the press through the Press Complaints Commission - sufficiently protected their privacy. It also feared that a general requirement of prior notification risked having a chilling effect on
serious investigative journalism.
Max Mosley, the former president of Formula One, was in a European court on 10 January hoping to secure a new law barring newspapers from publishing details of people's private lives without forewarning.
Mosley is asking the European Court of
Human Rights in Strasbourg to make it illegal for a newspaper to publish intrusive material without prior notification. He claimed that it was a great fallacy to think this would inhibit press freedom.
But campaigners have warned that a prior notification
rule could damage valid investigative journalism as well as suppressing kiss and tell journalism, by giving anyone who does not like what is about to appear about them in the press time to seek an injunction to prevent publication.
UK Government opposes Mosley's application.
It's really a very simple thing that if a newspaper is going to write something about your private life, or something you might reasonably wish to keep reasonably private, that they should tell you
beforehand, Mosley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: The fact of the matter is, in 99 cases out of 100, if they are going to write something about someone of any real interest, they will approach the person.
But Geoffrey Robinson QC
warned: The vast scope of the new law which is contended for is so vague as to be unworkable.
Daily Mail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre has launched an attack on a High Court judge, accusing him of bringing in a privacy law by the back door.
He said Mr Justice Eady had used the Human Rights Act against the age-old freedom of newspapers to
expose moral shortcomings of people in high places.
Mr Justice Eady ruled in favour of motorsport boss Max Mosley in his legal action against the News of the World. He ruled in July that the paper had breached Mosley's privacy, saying he could
expect privacy for consensual sexual activities (albeit unconventional).
Dacre told the audience at Society of Editors' annual conference in Bristol that the judge's amoral judgements, in this and other defamation and libel cases,
were inexorably and insidiously imposing a privacy law on the press.
Dacre said this had huge implications for newspapers and for society. Public shaming had always been a vital element in defending the parameters of what are considered
acceptable standards of social behaviour, he said. Without the freedom to write about scandal, newspaper sales would fall, creating worrying implications for the democratic process, he said.
Now, some revile a moralising media. Others,
such as myself, believe it is the duty of the media to take an ethical stand. Either way, it is a choice but Justice Eady - with his awesome powers - has taken away our freedom of expression to make that choice.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's
Today programme, Lord Falconer defended Mr Justice Eady's role. He said it was not necessarily acceptable for public figures to have aspects of their private lives, such as abortions and other medical treatments, reported in the newspapers.
course, if I'm acting hypocritically or I'm accountable, or there's something that may affect what I do in my public life which emerges from my private life, then that should be published. But there are things which are private and just as we don't want
the state to know everything about us, do we want things that are legitimately private to be made public? I don't think we do.