Google launches challenge to Max Mosley's privacy bid

Max Mosley arrives at the High Court in London Image copyright PA

Google has asked the High Court to throw out legal action being taken by ex-Formula 1 boss Max Mosley.

Mr Mosley wants Google to block photos of him at a sex party first printed in the now-defunct News of the World, which he successfully sued in 2008.

He is suing the internet firm for breaches of the Data Protection Act and misusing private information.

Google's barrister argued that Mr Mosley no longer has a "reasonable expectation of privacy".

Mr Mosley won damages from the News of the World after it published a story alleging he had organised a Nazi-themed orgy.

Photographs and a video which show his private sexual activity were originally obtained by News Group Newspapers Limited (NGN) in a clandestine "sting" operation.

Mr Mosley - the son of 1930s fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley - won £60,000 after a judge ruled there was no substance to the allegation that there had been a Nazi theme to the sex party and found that his privacy had been breached.

In that ruling, the High Court also said the article was not in the public interest.

Mr Mosley has said the role-play at a rented Chelsea basement flat was harmless, consensual and private.

'Ignoring the courts'

On launching his legal action last year, Mr Mosley urged: "Google should operate within the law rather than according to rules it makes itself. It cannot be allowed to ignore judgements in our courts."

Google has said it will remove URLs that it is alerted to, but is not prepared to remove the images entirely from its search engines.

In court on Wednesday, Google's barrister Antony White QC for Google conceded that it was technically possible to remove the images and was "not burdensome" to do so.

However, he argued that Google was not the publisher of the private information, and that Mr Mosley no longer had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the images.

On that basis, Google will seek to show that Mr Mosley's claim is unfounded.

The hearing is due to conclude on Thursday.

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