Not surprisingly if you’ve been following Max Mosley’s fight to remove embarrassing photos of a private sex party from Google search results, he has gotten a French court to order Google to filter results so those images don’t show up in its results worldwide. Google says it will appeal the ruling as requiring it to set up a “censorship machine.”
The pictures, taken without Mosley’s knowledge or consent, were published in the now-defunct News of the World in 2008. Mr. Mosley subsequently won a defamation suit against the paper for their story characterizing the party as Nazi-themed.
So if on January 1, an army of bots uploads re-named pics to a gadzillion sites that allow Google to index their pages, Google will be responsible for paying 1,000 euros per image found in their results. That doesn’t strike me as fair, even though Google already has its own image-matching search engine and would presumably be able to run the nine pictures in question against images it might index.
But do we want France’s decisions to be worldwide and to impact what we can see or read here? My first reaction would be “Hell, NO!” but perhaps we should think about about what we might want if we were in Mr. Mosley’s shoes, as I suggested back in 2011.