WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Internet domain company GoDaddy.com said it planned to stop registering domain names in China, joining Google Inc in protesting cyber attacks and censorship in that country.
“We believe that many of the current abuses of the Internet originating in China are due to a lack of enforcement against criminal activities by the Chinese government,” Christine Jones, Go Daddy Group Inc general counsel, told a congressional commission hearing on Wednesday.
She said GoDaddy had repelled dozens of extremely serious attacks that appear to have originated in China in the first three months of 2010.
Jones said GoDaddy, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, would continue to manage .cn domain names of existing customers.
“Our experience has been that China is focused on using the Internet to monitor and control the legitimate activities of its citizens, rather than penalizing those who commit Internet-related crimes,” Jones said.
Google said in January that it had sustained a hacking attack that it said originated in China. This week Google shut its Chinese portal over censorship and said it planned to phase out deals to provide filtered search services to other online or mobile firms in China.
Google said visitors to its China search engine, google.cn, were being redirected to Hong Kong-based google.com.hk.
“I compliment Google and I compliment GoDaddy,” said Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan, chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which focuses on human rights in China.
Republican Representative Chris Smith said GoDaddy’s action was “a powerful sign that American IT companies want to do the right thing in repressive countries.”
Google told the commission it was seeing intermittent censorship of some Internet queries from mainland China that had been rerouted to Hong Kong.
“We are well aware that the Chinese government can, at any time, block access to our services,” Alan Davidson, Google’s director of public policy, said in prepared testimony.
“Indeed we have already seen intermittent censorship of certain search queries on both google.com.hk and google.com.”
Internet censorship has drawn increased attention from U.S. lawmakers since Google’s spat with China began and a policy initiative by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to promote global Internet freedom.
“This is a foreign policy priority of the United States,” said Democratic Senator Ted Kaufman, co-chair of the Senate’s newly formed Global Internet Freedom Caucus.
Reporting by John Poirier; additional reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tim Dobbyn