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Don't Think of It As Aiding Repression

Think of it as a golden business opportunity!

An internal Cisco document (.pdf) leaked to reporters on the eve of a Senate human rights hearing 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 90-page document is an internal presentation that Cisco engineers and staffers in China mulled over in 2002 as the central government was upgrading its local, state and provincial public safety and security network infrastructure. Under the category "Cisco Opportunities," the document provides bullet point suggestions for how it might service China's censorship system called the "Golden Shield", and better known in the West as the Great Firewall of China.


"If you know ahead of time that a sale could lead to human rights violations, and there's no way of mitigating that, maybe you shouldn't offer it to that entity," says Arvind Ganesan, a director at the nonprofit Human Rights Watch, who called on Cisco to conduct a global audit for similar marketing behavior.

I suppose the usual response to this is that if Cisco didn't offer their services to China, someone else would step in to fill that void, so they might as well do it and reap the profits. And then they could go on to quote how much they donate to charities annually, thus once again balancing the scales of "good" actions versus "bad". Booyah.

By min | May 22, 2008, 1:52 PM | Liberal Outrage


Hey, I just found a golden shield pin! Anyone want it?