Go Daddy, the runaway leader in the domain name market, is to stop selling .cn names, after claiming China pressured it to gather more data on customers.
Speaking to the US Congressional Executive Committee on China, company general counsel Christine Jones pointed to “a recent increase in China’s surveillance and monitoring of the Internet activities of its citizens”.
The move follows Google's decision this week to redirect its mainland China users to its Hong Kong site, which is not subject to the same censorship rules.
Jones said that in January CNNIC, China's official .cn registry, told Go Daddy it would have to start collecting more information about Chinese .cn registrants.
On top of normal Whois information, such as name and address, the .cn operator wanted colour mugshots and signed papers. Go Daddy would have had to apply this retroactively against existing Chinese customers.
“We are concerned for the security of the individuals affected by CNNIC’s new requirements, as well as for the chilling effect we believe the requirements will have on new .CN domain name registrations,” Jones said.
She added that in the first few months of the year Go Daddy has seen a big increase in the number of spam runs, fraud and distributed denial of service attacks against its servers that appear to originate in China.
“For these reasons, we have decided to discontinue offering new .CN domain names at this time,” she said. “We continue to manage the .CN domain names of our existing customers.”