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updated: 7/29/2014 8:00 AM

Google sued by ex-racing chief Max Mosley over sex-party images

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Bloomberg News

Google Inc. was sued by Max Mosley at a London court for showing images of the former Formula One president at a sex party.

Mosley is asking the court to compel Google to stop gathering and publishing the images, saying the world's largest search provider has breached rules on the use of private information and data protection, according to a statement from his law firm Payne Hicks Beach.

Mosley won a $101,800 breach-of-privacy award in a U.K. court in 2008 from News Corp.'s now-defunct News of the World newspaper for publishing its story on a Nazi-themed "orgy" along with a video. The court ruled there was no Nazi theme and the story wasn't in the public interest.

"As the gateway to the Internet, Google makes enormous profits and has great influence, so I have not taken this action lightly," Mosley said in the statement. "Google should operate within the law rather than according to rules it makes itself. It cannot be allowed to ignore judgments in our courts."

Tom Price, a spokesman for Google in London, didn't immediately respond to a call and an e-mail seeking comment.

Google is grappling with privacy issues in Europe after a surprise ruling from the European Union's top court ordered it to remove personal information from search results on someone's name on request if it was outdated or irrelevant. Regulators have criticized how it's complying with the new "right to be forgotten."

Right to Be Forgotten

Mosley's case doesn't target this right or freedom of speech, nor does it require Google to decide what content is lawful since a court has already said that the images are illegal, according to the statement.

Google was ordered by a German court in January to block six images showing Mosley from its German search site Mosley won a similar bid at a French court last year which told the Mountain View, California-based company to block nine images linked to Mosley and awarded him 1 euro ($1.34) in damages.

Mosley said earlier this month that "a grown-up socially responsible" company wouldn't question taking down harmful information from the web. The view that everything should be published online is a "slightly adolescent attitude," he said.

"You have to draw the line somewhere and if Google won't do it, which they should, then the courts will have to act," he said.

The case is Mr Max Mosley v. Google Inc & Anr, HQ14X02964, High Court of Justice Queens Bench Division.

--With assistance from Jeremy Hodges in London.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Chapman at Robert Valpuesta

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