Feeds

Cisco accused of tailoring tech to aid Chinese abuses

Falun Gong content easy to spot, marketers boast

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
China hopes home-grown OS will oust Microsoft
Doesn't much like Apple or Google, either
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?