General Counsel Mark Chandler Testifies Before Congress
Post by Mark Chandler, SVP, General CounselToday, I joined colleagues from Google and Yahoo as well as two human rights groups to address the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law on issues related to global Internet Freedom. (I also testified two years ago before a House subcommittee on the same topic.) As a company that supports open communication, Cisco is proud of the role it has played in bringing the benefits of Internet technology to people of all nations. Our technology has helped connect the world in an unprecedented fashion. Perhaps the most vivid recent example of the changes the Internet has is the response in China to last week’s tragic earthquake. Within minutes, pictures and videos from the region were online and people were using the internet to coordinate relief, speed financial assistance and share information. Today, with more than 220 million Internet users in China (versus 80,000 in 1995), the ability of the average citizen to find information has been dramatically expanded.During the Subcommittee hearing, we discussed the rapid growth of the Internet around the world as well as the challenges posed as some nations implement policies related to Internet controls.For the public record:
1. Cisco sells the same products globally, and does not modify its products for any government. 2. Cisco’s routers and switches include basic features that are essential to the fundamental operation of the Internet by blocking hackers from interrupting Internet services and protecting users from viruses.3. Those same basic features -without which the Internet could not function effectively — can unfortunately be used by network administrators for censorship purposes.4. In this regard, Cisco does not customize or develop specialized or unique filtering capabilities in order to enable different countries to block access to information. 5. Since Cisco is not a service or content provider or a network manager, we cannot determine how those features are used in day to day network operation.
Those points were true when I made them two years ago and they remain true today.Cisco complies with all U.S. Government regulations, informed by human rights concerns, which control the sale of our products. Every President since Nixon — Republican and Democrat alike -has concluded that economic engagement with China was a positive policy for the United States and we support these views in conducting business in China.You can read my full testimony from today here.