Almost 800 signatures have been recorded on a petition to the Prime Minister to encourage government departments to upgrade away from Internet Explorer 6.

Following encouragement by French and German government departments to move people away from the ten-year-old Microsoft browser, the petition claims that ‘when the UK government does this, most of Europe will follow. That will create some pressure on the US to do so too'.

It states: “IE6 has some security flaws that leave users vulnerable. These two governments have let their populations know that an upgrade will keep them safer online. We should follow them.

“Most creative and software development companies are forced by government department clients to build websites for IE6 when most of the industry has moved on. Companies insist that they need IE6 support because government departments use it and won't be able to see their sites or services without it.

“Upgrading would be a massive task for government, but if the public is encouraged to lead the way and the government follows, that would create the momentum needed. IE6 'end of life' was extended to 2014 by governments and business not ready (or willing) to upgrade. This cycle should be broken and innovation and security given their proper place.”

At the time of writing, the petition, set up by Dan Frydman of web firm Inigo, has 796 signatures – a rise from 44 when it was reported by BBC News at 11am this morning.

The news follows Google's announcement that it will stop supporting IE6 from 1st March, as well as other reports of IE6 rapidly being phased out by organisations.

Microsoft has issued no response to this petition; however Cliff Evans, head of privacy and security at Microsoft, has previously encouraged users to upgrade to IE8 to get the benefits of features such as the smart scan filter base, InPrivate browsing mode and sandboxing.