Internet companies including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, have indicated they won’t voluntarily co-operate with the British 'snooper’s charter'.
Twitter and Yahoo have joined the trio in signing a private letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, leaked to The Guardian, which suggested they won’t willingly comply with government requests to store data on British citizens, warning that the measures could have "seriously harmful consequences" if pushed through.
The British Government has been pushing for its Communications Data Bill to become law for over a year, arguing it’s necessary to help the police and security services catch criminals.
The Bill would give access to – who sent messages such as emails and texts, and who they were sent to.
The five companies said May’s plans to monitor the communications of every British citizen – including email, social media messages, calls and texts - would be "expensive to implement and highly contentious".
According to The Guardian, they also told May that implementing the bill would put Britain’s leading role in the global digital economy, and its commitment to freedom of speech, at risk.
They envisaged a "chaotic world" ensuing if the bill becomes law, opening the door to other countries imposing their own legal frameworks on data storage and collection.
They said that while they would make "reasonable accommodations" to local legal requirements, May’s proposed system was too risky.
"We do not want there to be any doubt about the strength of our concerns in respect of the idea that the UK Government would seek to impose an order on a company in respect of services which are offered by service providers outside the UK," they said.
The five firms proposed an alternative plan to build on existing regulation that requires them to meet any government requests for personal data, namely a UK-US partnership to speed up the process.
The bill's fate is in some doubt after Liberal Demoncrat leader Nick Clegg vowed to block it, arguing the proposals aren't workable.