Google, Facebook and Twitter among internet giants criticising 'snooper's charter'

Firms join forces to criticise plans to force them to help security services hack into devices as 'very dangerous' 

Internet giants have joined forces to attack parts of the Government’s proposed new snooping Bill.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo criticised plans to force firms to help security services hack into devices as “very dangerous” and called for several changes to the draft legislation.

The draft Investigatory Powers Bill unveiled last year includes a requirement for internet firms to store records of data relating to people’s web and social media use for up to a year, and domestic communications providers will be required in law to help officers hack into suspects’ smartphones and computers.

In a 2,000-word joint statement to the committee of MPs and peers, the five US technology firms said the actions of the Government “could have far-reaching implications”.

They stated that “as a general rule” users should be informed when the Government seeks access to data. They also criticised “opaque” aspects of the Bill and claimed that allowing warrants on overseas companies to be served on British-based offices “presents a risk to UK employees”.

Security minister John Hayes said: “We are clear about the need for legislation that will provide law enforcement and the security and intelligence agencies with the powers they need in the digital age, subject to strict safeguards and world-leading oversight.”

Press Association