In yet another misguided attempt at 'removing' things from the internet, Max Mosley, the former F1 boss, is now suing Google in France and in Germany for not doing enough to remove from its search results websites which featured an alleged compromising video of the man.The issue stems from a scandal involving the former Formula 1 boss when the defunct British tabloid News of the World revealed a video allegedly showing him in a "Nazi-themed" orgy.
The tabloid has since been brought down by a huge phone hacking scandal, but the video and allegations spread online.
Ever since, Mosley has been fighting to get the video pulled down from any site that would host it. So far, he says, he's spent £500,000, $776,000 on legal fees fighting the websites.
But that is a losing battle he believes, it would be so much easier if Google would simply nuke the sites from its search results.
"If somebody were to stop the search engines producing the material, the actual sites don't really matter, because without a search engine nobody's going to find it," he said earlier today.
Which is true, obviously. And it's exactly why Google doesn't remove results at the whim of one person or another.
It's hardly the first time Google has been sued in order to force to remove results that people have deemed as libelous or damaging to their public image.
Unfortunately, though the matter should be "open and shut" Google has lost several of these lawsuits. It remains to be seen whether courts in Germany and France believe a man's privacy is more important that the freedom of information.
"The fundamental thing is that Google could stop this appearing but they don't or won't as a matter of principle," Mosley also said. "The really dangerous things are the search engines."
The "dangerous" Google responded with a typical statement, it does not remove results on demand and it does not control what others put online. But it will comply with court orders.
"We don't, and can't, control what others post online, but when we're told that a specific page is illegal under a court order, then we move quickly to remove it from our search results," Google said.