WhatsApp and Signal believe the government’s Online Safety Bill will vastly undermine the “privacy, safety and security” of UK citizens after signing an open letter opposing the proposed legislation.

The online messaging apps are among seven signatories who have formally signed the letter warning the government that they would rather leave the UK than weaken end-to-end encryption.

The Online Safety Bill would enable the government to scan private messages.

Element’s Matthew Hodgson, one of the signatories, says vulnerabilities brought about by the changes would leave the UK open to attacks from rogue nation-states and terrorists.

The government is adamant that the bill will help to protect children’s safety online.

Children’s charity, NSPCC, is in favour of the bill after stating messaging apps are the “frontline” of child abuse content.

However, there are fears that it could lead to routine mass surveillance, which could empower other states to follow suit.

The bill has already been delayed several times due to worries about it being too far-reaching.

The government believes it can strike a balance between privacy and ensuring end-to-end encryption remains in place.

But the letter is the latest action by tech companies to try and disrupt its passage through the UK’s law system.

A final reading of the bill is pencilled in for Wednesday in the House of Lords.

It is now two years since an initial proposal was drafted and it remains to be seen whether it will survive in its current form or require further amendments to appease detractors.