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Thursday, March 25, 2010

GoDaddy Joins Google in Resisting China Censorship

I buy domain names from GoDaddy.com. I have my misgivings about their objectification of women in advertising, but they've also provided reliable web service at a decent price.

GoDaddy is demonstrating admirable virtue in their dealings with China. In response to China's new invasive identification requirements for all individuals pruchasing domain names, GoDaddy just announced it will no longer register domain names in China. GoDaddy notes that the Chinese government was retroactively requesting additional information on existing domain registrants. GoDaddy general Counsel Christine N. Jones says the company has also seen an increased number of attacks on Chinese customer sites that carry content on the Tiananmen Square massacre, human rights, and other topic Beijing finds objectionable.

Worth keeping in the file for next year if South Dakota legislators resurrect the Blog Control Acts:

Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch, said China's new rules are yet another example of the country tightening its censorship policies and undermining the ability of U.S. companies to operate freely.

"The underlying intent is, if you're engaging in political speech, we want to know who's engaging in it and what Web site is behind it," Ganesan said. "This is a way the Chinese government can send a chilling message to people that they shouldn't speak freely online. It's forcing us companies to be both the censor and the spy on behalf of the Chinese government."

..."We decided we didn't want to be agents of China," [Jones] said [Ellen Nakashima and Cecilia Kang, "In response to new rules, GoDaddy to stop registering domain names in China," Washington Post, 2010.03.25, p. A13].

GoDaddy and Google appear willing to stand up to China on freedom of expression. I look forward to seeing whether this private economic sanctions effort wins more support and effects change in China.

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