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GoDaddy Stops Selling Chinese Domains Over Censorship Concerns

March 29, 2010

By Ryan Singe
March 24, 2010

GoDaddy, the net's largest domain-name registrar, announced Wednesday it
would stop selling .cn domain names, saying it was unwilling to comply with
new rules from the Chinese government that require new and existing .cn
domain-name holders to provide photo ID.

The announcement comes just two days after Google redirected its censored
Google.cn search engine to its uncensored service in Hong Kong, after a
dramatic statement in January that it was no longer willing to run a
censored search engine.

GoDaddy's top lawyer Christine Jones told Congress Wednesday that the new
rules were an "attempt to exercise censorship on the subject matter hosted
on domain names."

"We were having to contact Chinese users to ask for their personal
information and begrudgingly give it to Chinese authorities," Jones said.
"We decided we didn't want to become an agent of the Chinese government."

"We are concerned for the safety of current domain-name holders and about
the chilling effect it could have for new registrants," Jones said.

Jones made her statement at a Wednesday convening of the
Congressional-Executive Commission on China, a bicameral and bipartisan
legislative group.

China's new rules require domain-name holders to show their business
licenses and photo ID to authorities in China in order to keep the .cn
country-level domain name. While that's not keeping with policies
recommended by ICANN, the central naming authority on the internet, ICANN
has little authority over how countries run their own country domain names.

At least 72 Chinese citizens are in jail for internet postings, according to
Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) who urged that the government support
companies like GoDaddy and Google.

GoDaddy will discontinue selling .cn domain names, but will continue to
administer current registrations.

GoDaddy, which handles more than 40 million domain names, also cited China
as a hotbed for DDOS attacks, spam and financial fraud.
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