Reached by Reporters Without Borders, US web hosting provider Go Daddy has denied receiving any form of pressure from the Chinese authorities. The initial story was published before Go Daddy was directly asked for a response.
Go Daddy said the server hosting the Chinese human rights sites was used to attack other servers, and the company just responded to complaints from clients that were the victims of these attacks, which were a "serious violation of the terms of service." According to Go Daddy: "the shutdown also had nothing to do with bandwidth - our concern directly related to what our investigation into complaints about the server attacks revealed". The company has told the Chinese dissident sites why they have been suspended.
August 21, 2007
Reporters Without Borders today called on US web hosting provider Go Daddy to explain why it suddenly withdrew hosting for several Chinese sites specialising in human rights in China. According to a report on the news website Boxun , around 10 Chinese human rights sites were suspended without explanation on 17 August.
“The situation of online free expression in China is difficult enough already, so foreign companies need to act with the utmost transparency,” the press freedom organisation said. “One cannot rule out the possibility of Chinese government pressure on companies hosting websites that are already blocked in China. Go Daddy’s silence leaves too much room for doubt.”
Go Daddy notified about 10 Chinese sites including chinesepen.org and Huang Qi’s 64tianwang.com on 17 August that they could be suspended because of a server problem and asked them to provide log-on passwords within 72 hours so that the problem could investigated. The sites were nonetheless suspended later the same day. The Boxun report disputes that the server problem mentioned was a significant issue.
Go Daddy gave no explanation for the suspension, and instead told the site owners that they would now have to begin a reactivation procedure that takes several days. But meanwhile, any site that remains disconnected for more than a day or two is considered dead.
One of the editors of the Boxun site told Reporters Without Borders that the suspension of the human rights sites may have been the result of pressure from the Chinese government or what passes for standard business practice among Internet service providers. He condemned Go Daddy’s failure to provide the sites with information.