This is the deal:
Reports indicate that networking giant Cisco Systems, Inc., an American company based in Silicon Valley, has been knowingly selling Internet surveillance and censorship tools to the Chinese government for years. The Chinese government’s “Great Firewall” prevents Internet users in China from accessing much of the Internet, including online references to Tiananmen Square and the Jasmine Revolution, as well as social media sites like Facebook. In addition to blocking access to information, these tools have enabled the Chinese government to spy on its citizens and may include special customization to target individuals who are working to protect human rights and build democracy in China.
Du Daobin, a dissident writer in China, was reportedly detained and interrogated by the Chinese government specifically about a lawsuit he and other Chinese dissidents brought against Cisco. In June 2011, the activists sued Cisco and a number of Cisco executives in the United States District Court in Maryland for their “knowing and willful aiding and abetting of the Chinese government’s harassment, arrest, and torture of Chinese political activists.”
We believe Mr. Du has since been released, but he still faces the possibility of more imprisonment and torture for challenging an American company’s policies and speaking out against censorship. Help us defend this political activist, and call on American companies to defend human rights rather than selling the tools of repression! Sign our petition to tell Cisco to intervene on behalf of Mr. Du and to commit to standing up for human rights.
You can send a template “cut-that-shit-out” message to Cisco by simply placing your name and email address in the EFF Cisco petition form, or vote with your wallet and just don’t buy Cisco kit anymore (which might be the only thing they truly listen to).
I kinda feel there’s a slight air of futility about all this, because if Cisco wouldn’t help enable Chinese censorship en-masse, then somebody else would, ya know? Linksys or Realtek or Intel or Broadcom or somebody. But, as a purveyor of some of the best (proprietary) networking kit you can get – it’s not like they’re bankrupt (they made a gross profit of $25 million last year), so they don’t need to be money-grabbing whores helping an oppressive government to literally beat their citizenry into submission.
It only takes a couple of seconds to sign the petition, and I think letting Cisco know that what it’s doing is wrong and that we see them, is something worth doing.