Media Coverage on Human Rights Issue
Earlier this week, there was media coverage on a lawsuit brought against a large technology corporation by a human rights organization for providing information to the Chinese government that allowed it to personally identify a citizen, who was subsequently sentenced to prison. Some of the coverage identified Cisco as supplying technology equipment that allows the Chinese government to divert Internet traffic away from information that the government doesn’t want accessed by its citizens. The way it was written could be read that we work with governments to help them censor or manage the information that their citizens access. We do not. We have made our concerns clear to the media outlets in question. The purpose of this blog entry is to make clear what Cisco does and does not do with respect to the management of information.1. Cisco does not in any way participate in the censorship of information by governments. We never have.2. Some countries have chosen, as a matter of national policy, to restrict or limit access to information on the internet to its citizens. The router functionality that may be employed by such nations to restrict this access is the same functionality that libraries and corporate network administrators use to block sites that they might not want to be accessed by their users (i.e. pornography, hate sites, etc.) Whereas this functionality can be used for many different purposes, Cisco has not specially designed or marketed products for any government, or any regional market, to censor Internet content from citizens. Further, the equipment that we sell in San Jose, CA (our hometown) is the same equipment that we sell anywhere else in the world.We are proud of the role that we have played in spreading access to information around the world, including in China. As we stated in our testimony before Congress last year, “since our entry into the Chinese market in 1994, the number of Chinese accessing the global Internet has grown from 80,000 in 1995 to over 130,000,000 in 2005 -a 1625% increase in the past 10 years.” We are proud to have played a role in this spread of access to information and collaboration.It is important that we refute or correct information that we deem incorrect or inaccurate on this issue and I hope that this blog entry has served that purpose.More information on this topic from a Q&A that we posted last year after the Congressional hearing.For more information on Cisco and Corporate Social Responsibility, please see our 2006 CSR report.