Lawsuit Claims Cisco Helped China Survey Dissidents

A lawsuit has been filed against Cisco Systems, an Internet routing gear company, siting that they helped design tools for China to censor and track dissidents.

The specific case in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose by the Human Rights Law Foundation directs attention specifically to the tracking of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement in China.  The Human Rights Law Foundation is arguing on behalf of the Falun Gong group.  Being as the members of the group filing suit are foreign nationals, they would have to follow the Alien Torts Statute–allowing them to be represented in the United States. They seek to bring up information regarding the firewall “Golden Shield”.  It is their stance that the Golden Shield led to the apprehension, torture and in one case death of members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Cisco claims that they are not involved in the censorship of the Internet and that they have no history of working with China to root out opponents of the Chinese government.  They claim that they did not help design the firewall Golden Shield.  However, when information came out in 2008 that they were in fact at the very least working with China in the beginnings of a firewall design, they pushed it aside and claimed that it had to of been the work of a lower level employee–certainly not an executive.  This hurts their credibility a great deal when they have been attempting to paint a picture of zero cooperation with the Chinese government.

The lawyer representing the Falun Gong group, Terri Marsh, assures that they have adequate documentation proving the involvement of Cisco in the design of the Golden Shield.  This documentation will be presented to the courts during the “discovery phase” of the trial.

Ms. Marsh and the Human Rights Law Foundation are representing a group of eight Chinese Citizens.  Their names have not been disclosed.  The group of eight also includes members who have died or were tortured.

SOURCEwww.nytimes.com       

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