Leaked Doc Implies Cisco Marketed Routers as Aid to China’s Great FirewallMay 22nd, 2008 — idteam
Wired magazine posted a leaked document from Cisco which the magazine writes, “…reveals that Cisco engineers regarded the Chinese government’s rigid internet censorship program as an opportunity to do more business with the repressive regime.” The OpenNet Initiative (ONI) has documented China’s sophisticated filtering regime which relies in part on software from US firms, including Cisco.
A number of other US technology companies that do business in China are also working with the Berkman Center, leading human rights groups and academics to establish agreed upon principles of conduct for operation in China. Yesterday, the Berkman Center’s John Palfrey and Colin Maclay also submitted testimony before a Senate hearing on “Global Internet Freedom: Corporate Responsibility and the Rule of Law.”
The Wired article continues:
The document is the first evidence that the networking giant has marketed its routers to China specifically as a tool of repression. It reinforces the double-edged role that Americans’ technological ingenuity plays in the rest of the world. Companies including Cisco, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google have faced criticism for cooperating to various degrees with the repressive Chinese regime, and the document leak on Monday came one day before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing into U.S. technology companies’ participation in foreign government censorship programs.
One powerpoint in the Wired story shows that Cisco routers could help the Chinese government to, “Combat ‘Falun Gong’ evil religion and other hostiles.”
Rebecca MacKinnon has thought a lot about this issue and has two blog posts worth reading on Cisco’s role in Chinese filtering. One related to marketing materials from Cisco aimed at security services in China, and another on her conversation with a Cisco executive on their policies in China, in reaction to her first post.
However, as a recent survey by Pew finds, many in China have far different attitudes towards filtering online content than Americans. As the survey states, “Many Americans assume that China’s internet users are unhappy about their government’s control of the internet, but a new survey finds most Chinese say they approve of internet regulation, especially by the government.”
The Leaked Doc Implies Cisco Marketed Routers as Aid to China’s Great Firewall by Internet & Democracy Blog, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.