back to article Google 'chooses' not to censor Mosley content, MP says

Former Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw said Google could stop links to the material appearing in results but decides not to. He made the comments during a question-and-answer session conducted by the Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions. A Google lawyer defended the company's privacy policy and said it responded to take …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Lamont Cranston

    Dear Max,

    The best way to get everyone to forget about the "Nazi sex orgy" that never happened, would be to shut up about it. Pursuing Google through the courts because you can use it to find websites that make mention of it, is just drawing attention to it, and reminds everyone that a) you pay for sex and b) your dad was a fascist.

    Give it up, and go away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Missed the point

      You've totally missed the point: If Max Mosley wanted everyone to forget and for the story to just go away, he wouldn't have taken NOTW to court in the first place - This is what they hoped he would do. Instead he has bravely and at great cost to himself stood up and said "Enough!" media companies don't get to trample all over the law and basically blackmail people, they don't get to show content that is made up, false and designed to maximise profits over personal rights to privacy. Google are part of the media, if they like it or not, and don't get to replay slander and invade people's privacy.

      He paid for sex, this is not illegal (within certain technicalities), his father has nothing to do with this case.

      He should be praised, should not give up and certainly shouldn't go away. He is a far braver man than I.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At first, ages ago, I thought like you, he's a whinging, dirty old sod who won't let it go. However you read some of the interviews he has made since his decision to persue this, he comes over a sane, sensible person just trying to put this shit to bed and set the world to rights, luckily he has the resources to go for it.

      Most of media is full of utter crap and ultimately is one person's opinion on the matter, which will most likely fall in line with the media outlet's general take on things. When you do decide to take a look at other people's opinions or are able to get the facts from the horses mouth, you get a much clearer picture.

      1. Ben Tasker

        > "he comes over as a sane sensible person"

        With an apparent lack of understanding about how the Internet works. I can only imagine the hell he goes through knowing most people he's met will have seen it, but as Google themselves have said - censoring search results based on an algorithm is a bad idea. It's also very much the thin end of the wedge.

        As another commentard pointed out, what happens when people stop posting it as "Max Mosley" and instead as "That F1 Dude"? Although it's a huge burden on him, the current process of identify site and then report it works well.

        Can't say I wouldn't be tempted to go the same route as him if something similar happened to me though!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Ben Tasker

          I think he shows a perfectly sufficient understanding of how the Internet works - for the vast majority of people, if it isn't on Google, it isn't on the Internet, they simply have no other way of finding information on the net.

          As for what Google have said - I don't believe them - they are perfectly capable of making sure that certain results don't come up, if they see fit, I believe that all Max is asking is that they prevent certain pages from certain sites being show in results. Google actually have a system at YouTube which allows rights holders to delist certain material as infringing their rights, why can't this be done for people - ie: once they've got a court order, they can administer their own no-show list, with appropriate penalties if they balls it up.

          1. Ben Tasker


            Which is exactly what they are doing at the moment. When notified of an (for the sake of brevity) infringing site, they de-list it.

            That's not whats being asked of them here though;

            There's a certain video of Max published on the net.

            At the moment, if it appears on he needs to tell them about it, which is a lot of effort because it may well be published on (or even

            What he's asking is that rather than having to notify them of every page (which is an insurmountable task really) that Google detect the video in software and auto-delist pages. That's a very, very different proposition and is never going to be 100% accurate (point of fact, do you err on the side of caution and risk false positives, or risk false negatives and being sued?).

            There's a big difference between monitoring YouTube and monitoring everything else. Even if you were to use video fingerprinting that won't be 100% effective (I could make dramatic changes to the video whilst still ensuring the original was the primary focus).

            It's not impossible but it's not a good idea, and is something that will get misused should it be implemented.

            The idea that people can only find things through Google also ignores the wider picture. It may not be in Google, but if I link to it on Facebook, everyone on my page will know the URL. That's part of how videos go viral in the first place!

            1. Ben Tasker

              @AC - Addendum

              Sorry, 2000 word limit! Just a small extra note;

              My view is that the only way things like this can be more easily discouraged is to ensure that the original source (NoTW in this case) is so heavily punished that it becomes less desirable to do so.

              Think of the punishment NoTW got in contrast to the benefit they gained (sales). If a redtop knew it would lose more than it would gain it'd at least go towards preventing the rags from publishing bullshit. Of course you then get into freedom of the press.

              I don't know the exact answer, but implementing any form of censorship (especially an automated one) is definitely not the way to go IMHO

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward


                You seem to be fine with the idea of the press being censored, in that you don't think that they should publish information which invades privacy, but you don't apply the same standard to Google. "Because it's difficult" isn't an adequate argument to allow companies to flaunt the law, in my opinion.

                1. Ben Tasker

                  Theres a huge difference between publishing something and linking to it. NoTW had editorial control but decided to publish, whereas Google have no such control over who posts what and where. Expecting a search engine to act as a gatekeeper to the Internet is absolutely ridiculous.

                  I see why the guy wants it removed, but sadly its never going to go away. Its not feasible for Google to autodetect, especially as this would open the floodgates.

                  Imagine what happens if Google are forced to use this mechanism for superinjunctions, something already abused by companies.

  2. frank ly


    .. he could try claiming copyright violation, since it is arguable that he owns the IP of his own 'artistic performance' in this incident.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Photographs are usually owned by the photographer, unless it's work made for hire etc

      I'm guessing it's the same with videos?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Marvellous idea

      No doubt coupled with lobbying for corporal punishment as a penalty

      1. Jedit Silver badge

        Slap the cuffs on the press

        Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander!

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    I'm not touching this one....

    ....said the young [cough] lady [/cough] to the punter.

  4. Craig 12

    I'd forgotten about this incident... more proof that if you've gaffed, just shut up about it and keep your head down rather than involve lawyers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      That's the point - he rather bravely decided that he's going to shout about it until everyone knows how the media are behaving.

  5. janimal


    He should be going for the actual websites that are publishing it. Even if he were able to get google not to index it, other search sites around the world could and would.

    The internet need a constitution laying out certain principles that should be upheld. For instance search indexes should not be liable for indexing something. They are not carrying the content simply stating that it exists FFS.

    Or they should start suing telephone directories for listing phone numbers of drug dealers etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think...

      I think the point is that those web sites are not in the jurisdiction of the UK/EU courts, whereas Google, et al are.

  6. Spender
    Big Brother

    Censorship by machine... definitely possible... and certain to be shit. I'm somewhat worried that yet another politician climbs on a soapbox preaching that this is a clever idea.

  7. Purlieu

    re: shirley

    Exactly - he'd need to sue Bing and Yahoo etc etc it all sounds a bit costly.

    Meanwhile, meet my friend Barbra .............

  8. Only me!
    Big Brother

    Changing History

    This is like a dictatorship ..... just airbrush anything or anyone out of history as if it did not happen.

    Well Max....the newspaper DID publish all kinds of stuff, you took them to court and won. That is the full history of events.

    Now if you wish to airbrush out the fact the paper published, maybe you should airbrush out the fact you won the court case QED.

    History is not try a rewrite it just because you do not like it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think the point is more along the lines of:

      The newspaper invaded his privacy by obtaining videos of him of an extremely personal nature.

      When that wasn't enough, because of who his father was, they the made up allegations of a Nazi theme.

      They published in their newspaper

      They put the video onto their web site - where they must have known that it would be picked up and re-published all over the place. There was no reason for the video to be there, only the story, it was just for extra titillation of their readers.

      They made shed loads of money from extra sales/web site hits.

      He sued - this wasn't in the plan, he was supposed to just shut up and go away.

      They lost, got a pitiful fine, which almost certainly didn't exceed their extra profits.

      I think they published an apology on page 96.

      Were I Max Mosely, I'd be livid, however I don't think I'd have the balls to do what he's doing.

  9. Ru

    How unusual

    Google actually has a point. It helps in this case that 'do no evil' co-incides with 'don't implement idiotic and unworkable system according to the demands of a technologically illiterate politico'.

    1. The First Dave

      If Google really do have a point, then it is a minor one at best. Mosley has not said anything about expecting to remove all copies everywhere, but since Google already routinely scan all YouTube video for potential copyright infringement it is only a tiny addition to watch out for new links.

      They have already admitted that they are obliged to remove all links that they are advised of, so they have just as much obligation to remove new links to the same content - far easier for them to find it than to expect the victim to have to trawl the net every single day of the rest of their lives, and reporting each find individually.

      1. Ben Tasker

        > They have already admitted that they are obliged to remove all links that they are advised of,

        > so they have just as much obligation to remove new links to the same content

        Except of course the first is a legal obligation, the second is a moral obligation that you (I assume) would like to see imposed. It's not that trivial for them to do when you consider that this wouldn't be the only thing they'd have to search for.

  10. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    "However, Bradshaw said Keller's answers were "totally unconvincing" and that Google was able to remove material if it wished. "You could do it if you want to, you choose not to," he said, according to the Guardian's report."

    Where the fk do they get these people? Really I mean they should emply people with at least half a clue!

    I suppose that perhaps Google could de-list any pages that contain the name "Max Mosely", or the phrase "stupid fucker in Nazi uniform", but how else does this guy expect it to work? And what happens when people then change their pages to say "That formula 1 bloke" instead?

    1. Ben Tasker

      Then he'll probably ask that someone watches any video, and looks at any stills before they are added to the index just in case it's that video.

      What I find interesting is how easily Google could manipulate it's indexes to serve it's own ends. Conservatives cost us a lot of money in extra work? Drop the feckers from the Index.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Bristol Batchelor

      You go to show why Max is going on about this case, it having turned him into an unlikely privacy champion: There was no Nazi theme to the orgy, the initial reporter just made it up.

      Also - Google routinely de-list links from their web search and other services, they are also able to make sure that the realtime search doesn't flag up certain sites or generate results on certain keywords. Google also offer a "Give us feedback" link at the bottom of each search page, which includes "I had a bad experience with a website I found on Google."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Bristol Batchelor

        So, what you're saying is that Google should block anything that matches "Max+Mosely+sex+video"?

        Like this discussion, for example.

        Think it through, dammit! There is NO practical way to implement the pre-emptive blocking you describe without:

        a) blocking legitimate, legal content (a.k.a. censorship); and simultaneously

        b) still allowing people to get to the results by other means

        Double fail. Do you see?

        1. Annihilator

          Re: Re: @Bristol Batchelor

          "So, what you're saying is that Google should block anything that matches "Max+Mosely+sex+video"?"

          Erm, no, I think you missed the sarcasm.

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        @AC 12:54

        Sorry, I didn't know that you Max wasn't actually wearing a Nazi uniform; I haven't seen the video and have no interest in it. I actually think that he is more than entitled to his privacy; my grief was with the person that the article is about spouting off that Google could censor the video, but not understanding what he's talking about to the point that he doesn't realise that it wouldn't work.

        As far as Google delisting links; I got the impression that they already did that in this case. The problem was that as soon as they delist a link, another pops up. What you Max actually wanted was for Google to automagically know that it was this video (or I guess discussions about it) and automagically de-list it.

        Now apart from delisting anything with your his name in, I'm not sure what they could do. And any keywords that are used to de-list a page could just be removed from subsequent pages. Likewise any attempts to actually recognise the video itself could fall down for any number of reasons.

        Oh, and cudos to Annihilator for spotting the sarcasm. I didn't think that I needed to mention that if Max Mosley disappeared from the internet that it might hurt him more than if the odd person saw his video.

    3. Vic

      > Where the fk do they get these people?

      It's Ben Bradshaw, the former Secretary of State that was so gushing in his praise of the NPfIT...


  11. chriswakey

    Let's hope he gets the spanking he deserves...

  12. Mr Young


    Even with the Interwebs at me fingertips I haven't looked at a picture of his latex dong - thank feck for that!

  13. Brent Longborough

    More nonsense from the ignorant

    How on earth do Ben Bradshaw and Max Mosley expect Google to police the whole damned Internet?

    Can either of them successfully count to one thousand? OK, now try counting to *billions* of web pages. How many people do they think Google has to employ just because some shenanigans might be displayed?

    This is ridiculous. There's a perfectly adequate remedy already available in the form of a takedown request, which everyone acknowledges, in Google's case, works well.

    Google provides millions of people with excellent services, basically for free. Are we going to throw that away because one old fart is embarrassed, and his lawyer, who, having been Culture Secretary, God help us all, should know better, doesn't understand the internet and the 21st century?

  14. Crisp

    Flogging a dead story

    Once the cat is out of the stable door there's no way you're going to get that can of worms bolted shut.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


      For the excellent mixed metaphor. Help youself to one of these.

  15. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Trying to remove what is already in the public domain... like trying to put the gas back into a burst balloon. You'll never get very much of it no matter how hard you try, and you'll just look like a fool whilst trying.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once its out on the internet Mr Mosely you aren't EVER going to stop it resurfacing, Google maybe the top dog of internet search but even if they do remove it there will be lots of smaller search engines still listing the links to the video which may not have a UK presence so you cant take them to court, plus you want Google to remove all links to Max Mosley and sex video i presume? So what about news sites that are reporting on you trying to get this video banned, surely they will have the words Max Mosley and sex video in the text so they would get there listing remove also?

    I mite just download copy of this video now and upload it onto every file sharing and video site i can just to make his work that bit harder. lol

  17. GotThumbs

    Regardless of the Nazi He the one in the video?

    I haven't heard about this before...and I'm NOT interested in the video...but if He was filmed...then its a part of his life and what he did, then get over it.

    People need to understand....If you record ANYTHING on digital format....It can and will get out. Just learn from it...and don't be stupid enough to do it again.

    1. Annihilator
      Thumb Down


      1) *he* didn't film it, one of the women did

      2) *he* didn't know it existed (IIRC)

      3) *he* didn't release the video

      4) *he* didn't publish stills accompanied by allegations it was a Nazi related

      In short, he did something entirely legal in private which is now in the public domain with defamatory narrative attached. Other than having sexual desires different to yours (S&M with multiple partners), I don't think he did something "stupid" that he can "learn from". It's worth noting that he already tried to (reasonably IMO) get an injunction against anyone publishing the video, but lost as the judge ruled it was already out there.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Erm

        Totally agree that it is perfectly reasonable for him to try and get the video "removed". As you say, it was private, it's not in the public interest and and there's no reason for it to be out there. I have every sympathy for the guy.

        What I *don't* get is why you think this has anything whatsoever to do with Google. What you expect them to do about it?

        They're not publishing the video. They're not hosting the video. Heck, they don't even know they're *linking* to the video - until someone points this out. At which point, they'll happily remove the link from the search results.

        How is Google supposed to (reliably) tell the difference between the video that Max Mosely wants blocked and legitimate legal content? Enquiring minds want to know.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC 1556

          What it's got to do with Google is that they, as defacto internet search engine, are pretty much the only way that anyone will find the video.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC 1802

            Except of course for Facebook, Twitter, Chain Mail, Other Search Engines, Random other websites and of course word of mouth.

            Plenty of people use Google yes, but they definitely arent the only way that people will find the video. Not to mention that unless Google is also expected to drop all news stories relating to it, those who's interest has been piqued won't find it too hard to type into their browser will they?

            Mr Mosley has been well and truly wronged, but the real fuckup was in not making NoTW pay for it properly (which is an issue in law not on Max's part).

            As much as it's clear he's trying to publicise the power the media have (he'd be keeping quiet if it was about the video being forgotten) I suspect he perhaps lacks an understanding of how t'internet functions and what can and can't reasonably be done.


            Just waiting for the Bing ads 'You can still Bing! a particular Formula 1 related Video'


  18. KLane

    Can anyone say....


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How come so many people commenting here are people who would normally champion other's rights to privacy and personal sexuallity, but as soon as someone they deem to be unfit gets the full tabloid treatment, he is the enemy?

    1. Ben Tasker

      I must be reading another thread? I can't see anyone saying Max got what he deserved (Jokes aside). What I do see is a lot of people pointing out that the MP is asking for something that can't reasonably be acheived, and probably shouldn't be implemented even if it were 100% possible.

      Google removes links as soon as they are made aware of them. Perhaps Max should hire someone to write a crawler that looks for these sites and auto-detect them himself. Hell if he can get the false positives down I doubt Google would even care if the submissions came from his own bot!

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Can't speak for the other commentards, but:

      I think that he was well and truely wronged by this. I have no problem at all that he wants this video to never have existed. I think it's fair that he can go after the people who post it up, etc.

      My particular beef is with the moron saying that Google can automagically kill this. Sorry doesn't work like that. They could try, yeah. They'd get rig of a few, yeah. People would start using other things to describe it so that it doesn't get black-listed by Google, and then Google are just trying to play catch-up. At the end of the day, they would almost have to delist anything with his name in it.

      They might also be able to recognise the video itself, but that is hard work, and everytime the video gets transcoded, it doesn't tend to get flagged. Again it's a bit of a running battle.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Aqua Marina

    Agree with Max Mosely

    Google are constantly bragging how accurate their search is, how well they know you better than everyone else, that their search engines can follow you round as you move from one site to another, and the targetted search and ads follow you at the same time, and that their search is the most accurate at matching information with recipient. Googles heuristics know exactly what is contained in every page they index, no exceptions. They wouldn't be this accurate if they didn't. They CAN pinpoint content, and they CAN choose to link to it, or not to. morality/thin edge of wedges/ethics aside this IS physically possible. For Google to say otherwise is simply a lie. They have made billions out of identifying, categorising and quantifying as much information as is possible and available on the internet accurately.

    Downvote as much as you like, Max Mosely is simply asking that Google do the opposite of what they are already doing with the information they already have on him. After a few minutes of searching, Google clearly is accurately able to link me with his "sordid affair" without exception, it never gives me anything other than the Max Mosely story. It is equally possible for them to choose not to if they wished.

    1. Ben Tasker

      > Google knoe exactly what is contained in every page they index, no exceptions

      Shall we try for the list of obvious exceptions?

      - Video without Metadata

      - Images without Metadata

      Tell me, exactly how are Google to identify the content if I upload a transcoded video of Mr Moseley as myvid1.avi with no metadata at all? The page content may just say "Formula 1's finest hour!"

      The point I'm making is that you're almost right - Google CAN pinpoint indexable content. What they can't do is identify content that has no easy way of being identified. Without metadata, tags etc unless the video is called maxmoselysexvid.avi for all Google knows it could be a video of my cat.

      Google have never shown any resistance to taking those pages out of their index when they are notified of each of their pages. It's a huge burden on Mr Mosely yes, but it's all they are legally obliged to do. It's also about the most they can accurately do at this point, short of dropping any references to his name, F1 Sex or similar other keywords. At which point this comment thread will fall out of Google as well.

      1. Aqua Marina

        Punch and Judy

        You're almost right about me being almost right.

        If I take max mosely's video, re-encode it, and stick it on the internet with no identifying marks, it won't end up being offerred up when people search for "Max Mosely Video". In all likelyhood it will never be offerred up if people search for any search terms. The video's that are being offerred up are correctly identified, and as such Google are in a position to exclude it from the listing. Google very quickly unlearns incorrectly identified data, if it didn't every link would be a youtube Rickroll.

        The point I'm making is that it doesn't matter what individuals tag their videos and images as. Google follow every search and click, and they also follow people hitting the back key almost straight away, and clicking the next link in the previous search. Google know exactly when they have it right, so they can choose to exclude if they wanted.

        1. Ben Tasker

          Thats a fair point

          But its an awful lot of work for something that falls through as soon as the user refines their search term - i.e searches for Nazi sex video or something.

          All that aside though, it fails to answer the question of quite why the onus should be placed on Google (or any other search engine for that matter) to find the content. Sure they could do it (false + & - aside) but as they dont publish the content, do delist when notified why the extra?

          For the AC who said Google was the only way most people would find it. Given the proportion of users using IE there's a good chance theyll have learnt to use Bing by typing in the address bar (let alone if they have that lovely AV suite which changes your default search to their own search engine)

  22. JaitcH

    Google is pretty even-handed about things ...

    for instance, there are serials, cracks and keygens all over for Google's top rated Sketch Up software yet they choose not to censor it.

    Max is a fool, he more than anyone is keeping his sexual antics in the public eye. public figures choose to be in the public eye and should tailor their activities to match.

    It's bad enough Google complying with legally unsubstantiated take-downs by governments but it still doesn't stop you finding Bin Laden's web sites or other web sites that don't meet with government approval. Google is a sign post, whether people choose the route is not Google's responsibility.

  23. mhenriday

    The best comment I've seen on this truly earth-shaking matter

    I found on this YouTube website ( Way to go, Max Rufus !...


This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like