Feeds

Cisco accused of tailoring tech to aid Chinese abuses

Falun Gong content easy to spot, marketers boast

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.