The UK has been making some really bad decisions for encouraging internet entrepreneurship and tech startups to continue considering the UK an ideal place for starting a new internet company.
For those unaware and reading from outside of the UK, a UK judge has ordered British ISPs to block access to, arguably the biggest, BitTorrent search engine, The Pirate Bay. Alone this is a worrying act of censorship over internet content especially when you consider The Pirate Bay is currently (according to Alexa) the 77th most visited website in the world and doesn't even host any pirated content on its servers.
Unfortunately this isn't the only poor decision the UK has made recently. They're also planning to make it effectively illegal for UK webmasters to use analytics and other cookie tracking services that can be used to collect information on their visitors.
In my opinion this kind of action displays a clear misunderstanding about the workings of the internet and will do a lot more damage than the problem they're trying to solve. It's evident that many users have a problem with websites tracking their browsing activity but for concerned users this can be quickly fixed by disabling cookies. If you're worried about being being tracked online, you'll be delighted to hear the UK government are also planning to monitor all your personal email, phone and web traffic.
It doesn't even end there, the UK goverment are considering to block all pornographic websites by default, requiring users contact their ISPs to first opt-in before being allowed to access adult content.
If these measures are ever put into action the UK would be making one massive step towards the great firewall of China, where the government has the power to dictate what the people can and can't do online. And how exactly are we defining a pornographic site here? Many family friendly websites occasionally have pornographic content, take Tumblr, most users never upload any pornographic content to their Tumblr account, but occasionally users do, so do we block access to the entire website? Do we block access to any website with user added content? What does this type of censorship do to the functionality of the web? Here are some problems a software developer had when living behind the great firewall of china.
Any internet entrepreneurs looking to create a new internet company in the UK should be worried; your website may be under threat of being heavily censored or even blocked completely over the next few years. If you're startup hosts user uploaded content, you could be under threat already, and I'm afraid it could soon get worse.
If you're a UK webmaster leave a comment below, I'm interested to hear you're thoughts.