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GoDaddy to stop registering domains in China

Following Google's lead in moving its search engine outside of the Chinese government's purview, GoDaddy decides new Chinese laws on domain registration are too restrictive.

At least one company is ready to follow Google's stance on doing business in China: GoDaddy.

During a congressional hearing later today to discuss Internet freedom and China, GoDaddy executives plan to announce that they will stop registering domain names in China in response to a new government policy that requires extensive information about registrants, according to The Washington Post. Starting last December, individuals and businesses that wished to register a .cn domain namewere being asked to submit a photograph of themselves as well as a serial number identifying their business license in China.

"This is the first time a registry has asked us to retroactively obtain additional verification and documentation of individuals who have registered a domain name through our company," Christine Jones, general counsel at GoDaddy, said in a copy of her prepared remarks provided by GoDaddy. The company will continue to manage existing registrations but will no longer offer new .cn domain names, she said.

Jones also told the committee that GoDaddy has faced increased numbers of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks since the beginning of the year. "In the first three months of this year, we have repelled dozens of extremely serious DDoS attacks that appear to have originated in China, based on the IP addresses from which the attacks derived. Had our security systems not countered these attacks, the result would have been a widespread take-down of our customers' hosted Web sites," Jones said in her prepared testimony.

Google's Alan Davidson, director of public policy, also plans to speak before the hearing, coming two days after Google announced its decision to move its Chinese-language search engine from mainland China to Hong Kong in order to bypass government laws on Internet censorship.

"Internet censorship is a challenge that no particular industry--much less any single company--can tackle on its own," Davidson plans to say during his testimony, according to a copy of his prepared remarks posted on Google's public policy blog. "However, we believe concerted, collective action by governments, companies and individuals can help promote online free expression and reduce the impact of censorship."

For the most part, U.S. companies have reiterated plans to stay in China and adhere to their laws following Google's initial announcement in January and subsequent moves this week. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged companies to do their part in pressuring governments to open up the Internet to their citizens, but many companies feel the issue is much more properly dealt with at the national level, according to trade group representatives.