MIIT considers a white-list of approved websites


The Beijing News
December 22, 2009

Last week, CNNIC announced that private individuals would no longer be allowed to register domain names. A business license is now required to obtain a domain name under China’s “.cn” top-level domain.

Today, The Beijing News reports on the full notice released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which is framed as a campaign against the proliferation of pornography on mobile devices.

The MIIT notice lists five measures for domain name management:

1. Set up a blacklist to prevent the owners of domain names found to be in violation from applying for additional domain names.

2. Tighten registration procedures to ensure that all application documents are accurate. Transfer of a domain name requires that a new application be resubmitted.

3. Unregistered domain names will not be resolved:

Domestic websites are usually registered with MIIT, but because some of them were in existence before the establishment of the registration system, some websites have not registered. Many foreign domain names have not registered with MIIT. Domain-name resolution may be blocked for these websites, so access from China will be endangered.

4. Suspension of DNS service to violating websites and to any other domain names in the possession of the same domain name holder.

5. Overhaul of registrars: CNNIC has already taken action against three service providers: Zhengzhou Dahuang Network Development Company, Beijing Xinnet Digital Information Technology Company, and Beijing Blinux Network Technology Company.

In the past, China’s Internet minders have explained that they block foreign websites that are pornographic or otherwise harmful (although many blocked websites do not fall into these categories).

If carried out, the new MIIT measures will effectively set up a white-list of accessible sites. Any overseas website that does not make the effort to file paperwork with a Chinese government agency (or does not realize it needs to) will find itself cut off from mainland China.

The Beijing News hints at the repercussions of these measures, point #3 in particular:

It will be regrettable if law-abiding overseas websites, part of the world-linking Internet, are inaccessible because they have not filed with MIIT.

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