Google and Max Mosley settle sex session images dispute

Max Mosley, the former boss of Formula 1, has settled his legal dispute with Google over images from a sadomasochistic sex session he took part in with five women, representatives of both sides said on Friday.

The settlement brings to an end one of the highest-profile privacy claims of recent years, which raised new questions about the obligations on internet companies to protect celebrities' personal data.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but on Friday Google's search engine was still linking to images of Mr Mosley's sex session in a Chelsea flat, including a video uploaded to its own YouTube platform.

Mr Mosley's remaining claims will not now proceed to trial in the UK, Germany, France or any other country.

Meanwhile, Google's position in Europe has become more delicate - with multiple regulatory headaches, including a competition investigation by the European Commission.

Dominic Crossley, Mr Mosley's lawyer, said the terms of the settlement were confidential, adding: "I can say nothing more than the dispute has been resolved amicably and to the parties' mutual satisfaction."

Klaas Flechsig, a Google spokesman, told the news agency AFP: "I can confirm that we have settled the dispute to the satisfaction of both sides in all countries."

Mr Mosley, 75, once dominated Formula 1 with the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone. But he decided not to stand for re-election as president of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, the sport's governing body, shortly after the News of the World published a video of his sex session in 2008.

He successfully claimed that his privacy had been breached by the now-defunct News of the World, winning £60,000 in damages, and that allegations of a "sick Nazi orgy" were false. He went on to fund other cases against its publishers by victims of phone hacking.

His claim against Google arose from his frustration with the search company's process for taking down links to infringing material.

In January, an English judge refused Google's request to strike out the claim, agreeing that Mr Mosley was faced with "a Sisyphean task; even when a number of sites [containing images of the sex session] are blocked, many remain and some appear anew".

Not all of Mr Mosley's legal actions were successful. In 2011 he failed to convince the European Court of Human Rights that the UK should impose a legal obligation on newspapers to notify people before publishing details of their private lives - a proposal that critics said would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

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