Google should vet every page, lawsuit claims

Google should check through every page it plans to list in its search engines and check they don’t contain any defamatory material. Or at least that’s what an international motor racing supremo says.

The individual is the head of the organization that runs the lucrative Formula 1 racing circuit. He made the headlines in 2008 for a series of legal battles against the News of the World tabloid newspaper for printing claims about his personal life. He failed in a bid to have the story banned before publication as a violation of human rights, but won damages in a post-publication case. The damages were for breach of privacy rather than defamation, with a later libel case in France failing.

Giving evidence to an inquiry in London about press standards, Mosley said the claims have been repeated across the Internet, along with a video billed as showing a personal and private incident, that appeared on the News of the World website; although the newspaper later took the video down, it had not been protected and was widely copied.

It was already known that Mosley’s lawyers had demanded Google remove hundreds of specific web pages repeating the allegations from its index, which Google has done. The legal fees for hunting down these sites and making the legal demands has already topped £500,000 (approx US $800,000.)

However, during his evidence, Mosley revealed that he is also taking the company to court in France and Germany demanding that it block any and all sites that contain the allegations. He’s also threatened to take the case to the United States.

Such a move would mean Google not only had to vet every site before it appeared in the index, but would have to continue monitoring the several billion sites in the index to make sure the defamatory material did not appear.

Google has responded by saying it has no control over what appears on websites. It says it will only remove pages that contain illegal material if and when court orders it to do so.

[Source: The Guardian]

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