With the recent strict censorship rules posed by China on Internet searching, domain names registrations and website ownership, many companies have now started to stop their operations in the country. Google, which is the first one in the list, is being followed by many other US online companies. Godaddy and Network Solutions are now standing in the list to pull their services out of China.
China government has set up a new rule with regards to the website ownership rule. It requires the .cn domain name seekers to provide their personal information which includes a photo identification card, business identification card, signed registration forms and other relevant documents to the Chinese government. Without these documents, no customer will be given the .cn domain name. It has also requested the same kind of personal documents to the existing customers. The website services of the existing customers who couldn’t or didn’t provide the documents will be stopped working.
Many Internet addresses selling companies strongly oppose this new rule because of many reasons. If any customer has to provide these documents to the China government then these companies should collect them from the customers and send to China. In other words they should act as mediators or agents between the government and the customers. Many such reputed companies do not want to act as agents to the Chinese government. Besides there are also security concerns to the customers who provide such photo and business identity in the name of owning a website name.
Google was the first to raise its concern and it immediately shut down its China search Engine. Alternatively, it used Hong Kong site to reroute the operations. Godaddy.com, which runs the largest domain name service in the world, has the same concerns about the new rule. Previously, it was referred as a registrar that collects the names, addresses and other general contact information of the customers while registering the .cn names. Now it is really a pain to get referred as an agent. The second point mentioned in the above is also another reason for godaddy to pull out of China. The company is strongly concerned about human rights and the security of their customers.
Network Solutions LLC is also another biggest company in US that sells domain names or the Internet addresses to the customers. With the same mentioned reasons it has also pull out of China. Another reason for Godaddy and Network Solutions to pull out of China is, the websites of the existing customers which didn’t provide the requested personal information have been stopped. There are many .cn domain owned companies which are fully functional since 5-6 years.
Governments across the globe should trade certain standard rules with regards to the Internet censorship. Such rules should be posed in such a way that they should not limit the freedom of expression. They should also protect the domestic companies within a country over international competitors.