An online petition has been launched calling on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to encourage government departments to move away from Internet Explorer 6.
The petition, hosted on the official Downing Street petitions website, follows calls from many experts for Internet Explorer 6 to be ditched in favour of alternative browsers or a more up-to-date version of IE.
There does seem to be groundswell of opinion right now, hardening its stance against Internet Explorer 6. There are numerous websites explaining to webmasters how to pop-up messages urging visitors running IE6 to update, even Facebook groups dedicated to IE6’s destruction.
Just a few days ago it was revealed that Google would no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 6 for its Google Docs and Google Sites services, with other features such as Gmail dropping IE6 support later this year.
Internet Explorer 6 was first launched in 2001, and should probably have been killed off some time ago. As Tom Espiner at ZDNet recently reported, The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) are amongst the UK government departments that use Internet Explorer 6.
You have to question the wisdom of using Internet Explorer 6 to surf the web when Microsoft itself recently urged IE6 users to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 (as a mitigating step to avoid an attack by a zero day vulnerability).
Of course, upgrading or switching browsers isn’t something that a government department can do overnight – the IT teams responsible for managing a network will need to ensure that the computers can properly handle the new version, and that existing web applications work properly.
But if you want to support the petition urging the British government to switch from Internet Explorer 6 sooner rather than later, then this petition certainly won’t do any harm.