‘Right to be forgotten’ helping terrorists: UK government


Terrorists and criminals are using the "right to be forgotten ruling" against Google to hide details of their activities, a U.K. government minister has warned.

Culture secretary Sajid Javid late Tuesday slammed the ruling by "unelected judges" at the European Union's top court as "censorship by the back door".

"Since Luxembourg's unelected judges created the so-called 'right to be forgotten', Google has been receiving a demand for deletion every 90 seconds," Javid said in a speech at the Society of Editors conference.

Read MoreGoogle right to be forgotten 'draconian': Berners-Lee

"Criminals are having their convictions airbrushed from history even if they have since committed other, similar crimes. Terrorists have ordered Google to cover up stories about their trials."

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Leon Neal | AFP | Getty Images

The controversial "right to be forgotten" allows users to ask search engines such as Google to remove links that contain irrelevant or outdated information about them, following a ruling in May by the European Court of Justice.

Google said it has received nearly 150,000 requests for links to be removed. The search giant has removed 171,183 links, or 41.8 percent of all requests across the EU, but refused to delete the remaining 238,714 URLs, according to a report released by the company last month.

Read MoreGoogle removes results under 'right to be forgotten'

"Unfortunately we can't comment on individual cases. We evaluate every removal request very carefully, on its own merits, using the criteria set by the European Court - and we warn webmasters not to jump to conclusions about our removal decisions," a Google spokesperson told CNBC by email.

Open internet advocates have criticised on the "right to be forgotten". Last month, inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, branded the ruling "draconian".

Javid also used his speech to pledge a crackdown on police using Britain's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) – created to tackle "serious criminal wrongdoing" – from being used to "impede fair and legitimate journalism".

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The comments come following revelations by two U.K. national newspapers that police were secretly obtaining reporters' phone records.

Javid said that "specific protection for journalists and a free press" will be included in the British Bill of Rights – a law that will replace the Conservative government said will be passed if they win the 2015 general election to replace the current Human Rights Act.