Motorsport boss Max Mosley plans to challenge the UK’s privacy laws in the European Court of Human Rights, he said today.
Earlier this year he won a record £60,000 in privacy damages against the News of the World for the “probably unprecedented” distress and indignity he suffered over the paper’s “sick Nazi orgy” story.
He now wants newspapers to have to notify someone before publishing private information about them.
His solicitors will argue that without such a requirement the UK has no “real or effective” protection for the right of privacy.
Dominic Crossley of Steeles Law LLP said: “Whilst we all have a theoretical right to privacy this right can be and is violated before we can do anything about it. Mr Mosley’s experience is testament to this.”
He denied that the ruling sought in Strasbourg would have a “chilling effect” on journalism in cases where the exposure of private material had a “legitimate purpose or is genuinely in the public interest”.
He said that because Mr Mosley did not know about the News of the World’s article before it was published, he had no opportunity to seek an injunction.
The newspaper had printed photographs of Mr Mosley taking part in sadomasochistic activities with five women and claimed the session had a Nazi theme.
It also put secretly-filmed footage on its website, which attracted at least 3.5 million hits.
Mr Mosley, president of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), said the role-play at a rented Chelsea basement was harmless, consensual and private, with no Nazi overtones.
Mr Mosley, 68, who is the son of the 1930s’ Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, told the High Court that Jean, his wife of 48 years, was unaware of his sexual tastes and she and their two adult sons had been devastated.
Mr Mosley said today that his wife, on seeing the newspaper, initially assumed it was “some sort of joke”.
In an interview with the BBC, he said: “After that it was just a question of, ’What are we going to do about it?’
“I think for them (his family) it’s been catastrophic, very, very bad. In a way that’s the worst aspect of this, that in publicising something, just to sell a few newspapers, they can wreck a family, they destroy lives and they don’t give it a moment’s thought.”
He said: “It’s just absolutely wrong and if you’re in a position to do something about it, and I am, then you should.”
Following the story’s publication, he said he watched a football match and thought: “All those players, they all know.”
After the ruling, News of the World editor Colin Myler said he still believed the story was one of “legitimate public interest and one that I believe was legitimately published” and that it was “absolutely not true” that the newspaper had fabricated the Nazi aspect.