An Orgy of Censorship, Max Mosley Sues Google to Block Search Results

max mosely An Orgy of Censorship, Max Mosley Sues Google to Block Search Results

Max Mosley

The former head of Formula One racing, Max Mosely, lost his post a few years back after British tabloids ran pictures of him involved in am alleged “Nazi themed” orgy. Google, understandably, has thousands of search results that link to queries involving Mr. Mosley and the term “orgy.” In fact, shortly after we publish this piece, they will have another (oops).

Now Mr. Mosley is suing Google in Germany and France to have these terms removed. Amazingly, the Guardian reports that hundreds of references to this incident have already been removed by Google in response to Mr. Mosley’s lawyers. But they won’t scrub the results entirely. “The fundamental thing is that Google could stop this appearing but they don’t or won’t as a matter of principle,” Mr. Mosley told British authorities. “The really dangerous things are the search engines.”

This line of reasoning is terrifying, and very similar to one offered up during the recent SOPA hearings by several members of Congress. “Explain to me this one,” asked Howard Berman (D-California), when questioning Google during the SOPA hearing. “The Pirate Bay is a notorious pirate website, a fact that the founders proudly proclaim in the name of the site itself. It is being blocked by court order in Italy, Denmark, Belgium Ireland and Finland and yet Google continues to send U.S. customers to this site by linking to it in your search results. Why does Google refuse to de-index the site in your search results?”

What Mr. Berman and Mr. Mosley fail to understand is that a search engine is a portal. It did not create the sensational articles or the pirate websites. Asking Google to scrub its search results, is akin to asking a newspaper not to cover a politically sensitive event, or a novelist to go easy on the satire when writing about a powerful religious leader. It’s a version of “shoot the messenger”, played out on a global scale, which needs to quashed before it gains any traction.