Two more US internet companies pull out of China

Appearing before a Congressional committee, Christine Jones, executive vice president of Go Daddy, which runs the world's largest domain name service, said the company will no longer register new Web Sites in China. The move arrives is in response to China's new website ownership rules, which require holders of .cn domains to provide their personal information, including photographs of themselves to the Chinese government, the company said.

Another company that offers similar services, Network Solutions LLC, also said that it had stopped handling China Web registrations in December, for the same reason. "Today, Go Daddy, the world's largest domain registrar, announced in its submitted testimony that it has decided to discontinue new CN domain names at this time out of concern for the security of the individuals affected by the Chinese government's new requirement for domain registration," said Congressman Christopher Smith.

Go Daddy is the first company to publicly follow Google's example in responding to the Chinese government's censorship of the Internet by partially retreating from the Chinese government, he said adding that Go Daddy deserves to be praised for this decision. "It's a powerful sign that American IT companies want to do the right thing in a repressive country. But Go Daddy and Google deserve more than praise for doing the right thing in China. They deserve our government's support not lip service -- but tangible, meaningful support," the Congressman said.

Jones said for a few years now, the company noticed that, from time to time, it's not possible to access in China. "We were not sure why. One could infer it's because we register and host human rights and other websites that are deemed improper by Chinese officials, but we've never actually been told the reason.

"Regardless, every time it happens, millions of Chinese nationals who try to visit our website or the websites of our customers are disappointed to find that Chinese censorship has kept them from free access to the Internet sites of their choice," he said. "In the beginning, the .cn authority which is called cn nik required us to collect the first and last names of the registrant, a physical address, a telephone number, and an e-mail address. That was it. That is very typically of what's normally required by that type of domain name extension.

"In December of last year, cn nik announced that we'd have to start collecting a photo ID in colour from the head to the shoulders, a business ID and a physically signed registration paper for all new .cn registrations," Jones said. "In February two months later cn nik announced that we had to provide the increased documentation for all current .cn registrations. So in other words, we were going to have to retroactively apply those rules."

And if we failed to provide it, the domain names were going to stop working. Now keep in mind some of these names had pointed to fully functioning websites for as long as six years," Jones said adding that this became an issue of immediate concern to them. "We have 40 million domain names under management, by far the most of any company in the history of the Internet. We've done this a lot. This is the first time any registry has ever asked us to retroactively obtain information on individuals who registered a domain name through our company, the first time."

"We're concerned for the security of the individuals affected by cn nik's new requirement. Not only that, but we're concerned about the chilling effect we believe the requirements could have on new domain name registrations and therefore the free exchange of ideas on the Internet. For these reasons, as you mentioned Congressman, we have decided to discontinue offering .cn domain names at this time," Jones said.

The official said the recent cyber attacks on GoDaddy and Google and other US companies are troubling, but they're not new. "They reflect the situation that GoDaddy has been combating for many years. On the spam issue, we found that an overwhelming majority of websites promoted through spam are hosted in China, often at service providers that choose to completely ignore complaints of spam and other types of illegal activity," he said.

"We see no assistance from Chinese officials to combat this problem. In fact, it seems to be just the opposite. The force of the Chinese government appears to be being used to justify the activities of those who engage in spam as a business model as opposed to helping to stop it," he said.

Jones also said that there is significant payment fraud originating in China. "The payment fraud trends associated with trying to baste users include the white space used of compromised US/UK credit cards, for example, as well as gift cards, other online payment forms like Alipay, which would be the Chinese version of paypal. "Substantial payment fraud originating in China.  Again, no action by Chinese officials to help us combat that problem," he said.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
Comments (+)