NGO asks US appeals court to revive case against Cisco over alleged complicity in Chinese Govt. abuse

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الكاتب: Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service

Cisco Systems built a security system for the Chinese government knowing it would be used to track and persecute members of the Falun Gong religious minority, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation technology rights group. Falun Gong practitioners alleged the same thing in a lawsuit that a federal judge in Northern California dismissed in 2014. That case is being appealed, and on Monday the EFF, Privacy International and free-speech group Article 19 filed a brief that supports the appeal. The case highlights the risks technology companies take by selling software and hardware to customers around the world. Some of those customers may use the technology in ways that raise objections in other countries, creating legal problems or just tarnishing a vendor's reputation...“We have always maintained that there is no basis for the allegations against Cisco, and there is no merit to the case," Cisco said via email. "We do not customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression.”

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الكاتب: Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is urging a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit seeking to hold Cisco Systems accountable for aiding in human rights abuses by building the Chinese government a system that Cisco officials knew was intended to identify—and facilitate the capture and torture of—members of the Falun Gong religious minority. In an amicus brief filed Monday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, EFF and the groups ARTICLE 19 and Privacy International argue that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that Cisco understood that the “Golden Shield” system (also known as The Great Firewall) it custom-built for China was an essential component of the government’s program of persecution against the Falun Gong—persecution that included online spying and tracking, detention, and torture.

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الكاتب: Sophia Cope, Electronic Frontier Foundation

This is the second Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) case in which plaintiffs allege that the technology giant Cisco specially built surveillance, censorship, and other repressive products for the Chinese government that targeted disfavored groups — here, a religious minority called the Falun Gong, and in the other, prominent democracy activists — who were then subjected to torture and other recognized human rights abuses…In the digital age, repressive governments do not act alone to violate human rights. They have accomplices — including American technology companies like Cisco, as alleged by Plaintiffs — with the sophistication and technical know-how that those repressive governments lack. If aiding and abetting liability under the Alien Tort Statute is to mean anything, it must apply to cases like this…

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