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Go Daddy follows Google's example on China

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-03-24

US Internet giant has decided to stop offering domain names in China in protest at new requirements imposed by the authorities there. The move comes just two days after Google decided to end censorship on its Chinese search engine.

AFP - Two days after Google halted censorship in China, another major US Internet company, Web domain registrar Go Daddy, announced Wednesday that it was cutting back on its activities there.

Executive vice president Christine Jones said Go Daddy, one of the largest registrars of domain names in the world, is no longer registering names in China because of new requirements imposed by the Chinese authorities.

Jones also told a hearing of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China here that Go Daddy was one of the companies hit by cyberattacks originating from China in December which led to Google's decision to stop censorship there.

Google announced Monday that it had effectively closed its Chinese-language search engine in China and had begun redirecting mainland Chinese users to an uncensored site in Hong Kong.

Jones said Go Daddy has been authorized since April 2005 by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) to offer ".cn" registration services and is currently managing some 27,000 .cn domain names.

The .cn suffix is a so-called Top Level Domain for China like .com or .net and individuals and companies seeking to create a web address are required to go through a registrar such as Go Daddy.

Jones said Go Daddy has been required by the CNNIC to collect the contact information of the individual or company registering a domain name including their full name, address, telephone number and email address.

Four months ago, however, CNNIC required registrants of new .cn domain names to provide color headshot photos, a Chinese business registration number and signed registration forms, she said.

Go Daddy was later told that it would have to obtain such information from all existing domain name registrants who are Chinese nationals and to provide copies to the CNNIC, she said.

"No convincing rationale for the increase in documentation was offered," she said. "The intent of the new procedures appeared, to us, to be based on a desire by the Chinese authorities to exercise increased control over the subject matter of domain name registrations by Chinese nationals."

She said Go Daddy is "concerned for the security of the individuals affected by CNNIC's new requirements, as well as for the chilling effect we believe the requirements will have on new .cn domain name registrations.

"For these reasons, we have decided to discontinue offering new .cn domain names at this time," Jones said, adding that the registrar will "continue to manage the .cn domain names of our existing customers."

"We just made a decision that we didn't want to act as an agent of the Chinese government and that's really why we stopped offering the .cn domain names," she said.

Jones also said that Go Daddy was one of more than 30 companies hit by cyberattacks in December that Google said originated in China.

"We've had a couple of dozen since the first of the year as well," Jones said.

"The difference between the attack on our system and the attack on the Google system appears to be the Google attack was aimed at infiltrating email accounts," she said. "The attack on our system is designed to disable websites somebody doesn't like."

Date created : 2010-03-24


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