Feeds

Cisco accused of tailoring tech to aid Chinese abuses

Falun Gong content easy to spot, marketers boast

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A group accusing Cisco Systems of helping the Chinese government commit human rights abuses against Falun Gong members said it has presented new evidence that the networking giant customized its technology to spy on people tied to the outlawed religious organization.

The evidence, contained in an amended complaint filed Friday against Cisco in US District Court, cited a PowerPoint presentation in which company marketers boasted that their products can “recognize over 90% of Falun Gong pictures” in email traffic, according to The New York Times. A separate document used by members of Cisco's sales team described a database that could be connected to the company's firewall products to filter content from Falun Gong members.

The evidence could contradict statements Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler made in June in which he said unequivocally that the company doesn't put any special capabilities into the products it sells to the Chinese government.

“Cisco does not supply equipment to China that is customized in any way to facilitate blocking of access or surveillance of users,” he wrote. “Equipment supplied to China is the same equipment we provide worldwide, which includes industry-standard network management capabilities which are the same as those used by public libraries in the U.S. that allow them to block inappropriate content for children.”

A Cisco spokeswoman issued a statement that read in part:

As we said in May when the lawsuit was filed, there is no basis for these allegations against Cisco, and we intend to vigorously defend against them. Cisco does not operate networks in China or elsewhere, nor does Cisco customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression. Cisco builds equipment to global standards which facilitate free exchange of information, and we sell the same equipment in China that we sell in other nations worldwide in strict compliance with US government regulations.

The initial complaint in the case was filed by The Human Rights Law Foundation on behalf of a variety of Falun Gong practitioners. The lawsuit invokes a law that allows US companies to be sued for violations of human rights abroad. Among other things, the plaintiffs accuse Cisco of using Maoist rhetoric to pitch its networking kit to the Chinese government. ®

This post was updated to add a statement from Cisco.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
UK.gov's Open Source switch WON'T get rid of Microsoft, y'know
What do you mean, we've ditched Redmond in favour of IBM?!
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.