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back to article Falun Gong lawsuit skewers Cisco's 'little red' sales book

Cisco used Maoist rhetoric to pitch its networking kit to the Chinese government and customised it to help Beijing crack down on the Falun Gong movement, a lawsuit claims. Falun Gong supporters in the US filed the suit in California last week, the New York Times reports. The suit claims that Cisco helped design China's Great …

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Ooooh That will be interesting given...

http://www.huawei.com/products/datacomm/catalog.do?id=3596

Huawei are selling their 'GreenNet' system to TalkTalk for re-branding under 'HomeSafe'.

From Huawei's own literature...

"With the spread of the broadband network, unhealthy websites containing information about pornography, drug dealing, and malicious religious groups on the Internet increase rapidly. The social problems caused by the chatting and making of friends by young people on the Internet become more and more serious. To solve these problems, many carriers launch the green surfing service."

"Malicious Religious Groups." 111?!!21@!!1

Now.. please do not get me wrong here but might I ask if Falun Gong, I might be certain they are nice folks, have made similar challenges against Huawei for internal suppression of Mallicious Religious Groups and the export of similarly capable technology outside of China or does it only become a problem when external USEndiens encroach on the internal Religious Suppression Market?

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Unhappy

Hmmmm

"The social problems caused by the chatting and making of friends by young people on the Internet become more and more serious."

Jesus wept, what a world we live in where kids are not allowed to make friends. Makes you feel quite sick to think that this is some sort of problem or issue to be "cured". 1984? I don't think we have even begun to understand the world we're fashioning for future generations. Very sad, very sad indeed.

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easy

Huawei is based in China, and thus protected by the Chinese government, who is more likely to put anyone suing them in jail (or 6 feet under) rather than allowing any such nonsense.

Cisco is based in the USA, a country that still has some freedoms left, especially if said freedoms involve giving money to lawyers.

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Jaw... Drops

"... The social problems caused by the chatting and making of friends by young people on the Internet become more and more serious. ..."

Thank you for showing us that. That sort of behaviour never happened before the Internet of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: easy

"Huawei is based in China, and thus protected by the Chinese government, who is more likely to put anyone suing them in jail (or 6 feet under) rather than allowing any such nonsense."

Indeed. +1 to the commenter for pointing out Huawei's literature. -1, however, for adopting a "hands off American business" and/or "how dare those cowards go for the easy target" posture. If American hands are dirty, the US courts are one place to seek redress.

And yes, it's absurd to suggest that a banned organisation sue one of the state's little helpers in China. Even a lawyer at several arms' length from the plaintiffs would be in very deep trouble just for turning up for work.

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Actually

Well, nothing prevents Falung Gong from suing Huawei in the USA or UK.

However, in either case the lawsuit is without merit. You have to prove the whole chain of collusion - from design, sales, use to someone in particular being tortured or killed. That is not realistic.

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FAIL

Cisco I remember them

Yet more good news for the formerly great but now just average with way overpriced kit Cisco. Sigh, selling weapons to both sides is standard US business practice. Peace, justice and the American way.

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I say what I mean and mean what I say

Cisco: "Cisco does not operate networks in China or elsewhere, nor does Cisco customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression.”

Me: Well, that's totally irrelevant to the point of this lawsuit, isn't it? They're not saying you run the network, and you don't have to customize your products to facilitate censorship or repression -- their inherent design does that (what is a firewall, after all, but a device which prohibits information flow based on a predefined set of rules?) You only have to provide, e.g, sales literature promoting the censorship/repression options built into your systems by design.

@Camilla -- I think you may find it harder for the Falun Gong to find a jurisdiction willing and able to hear any complaints they may have against Huawei -- although I personally love the following excerpt from your quote:

"The social problems caused by the chatting and making of friends by young people on the Internet become more and more serious."

That reads to me a lot like "Damn you kids and your technology!"

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Go

Super-Injunctions via Hardware

Here's a solution for future Ryan Giggs ... hire Cisco to handle the super-injunctions on the Internet.

Or Google.

Might even be a business model for Twitter ... cash for forgetting hashtags.

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Black Helicopters

The downside of loose patent laws...

...means that China probably told Cisco to help or else they'd just copy Cisco's design and bury them in every market that would let them get away with it.

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Dead Vulture

"Some of whom have been allegedy tortured or killed"

What kind of crazy legal system do they have over there for you to be able to sue on behalf of a dead guy?

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Boffin

NYT ? The Reg ?

«According to the NYT, sales materials compiled for the Chinese government referred to the [?] "douzheng evil Falun Gong cult and other hostile elements". Douzheng was a term used during the Cultural Revolution to describe undesirable groups.»Once again, somebody seems to be writing about matters which he or she doesn't understand. «Douzheng» (斗争) is not «a term used during the Cultural Revolution to describe undesirable groups» ; rather it means «struggle» and in the context would be used as a verb - «struggle against [the] evil Falun Gong cult and other hostile elements»....

It will be interesting to see if this lawsuit flies - is it illegal for a US company to offer networking equipment and software which can block specific sites ? If so, a lot of companies that offer firewalls, etc, are going to find their business idea in need of revision. To me the suit would seem to fall into the category of malicious prosecution, which would leave the Human Rights Law Foundation at risk of a countersuit from Cisco....

Henri

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Cisco show you how it works

So you buy a Cisco router, it's a bit complicated, no easy web interface point and click but hard core command line driven stuff. So you get some training from Cisco to try and learn how to make it do the things you know it can do for you.

Are the Cisco trainers going to say, hold on there, we can show you how to set up firewall rules to stop people accessing sicko porn sites but not rules to stop people accessing Falun Gong sites.

Surely they are the same technical problems and what the tool is used for is a moral issue that Cisco has limited sway over the customer?

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Anonymous Coward

I think its called "ethics"

So a government asks cisco to design a firewall ruleset to track those looking for information on homosexuals, jews, christians, muslims, blacks, use of torture by said government etc.

Is it ethical to assist them? No its not and anyone with a shred of decency should walk away and if possible blow the whistle (bearing in the mind the risk of "failed brake lines" and "mysterious gas explosions" as well as the perennial favourite "committed suicide after embarrassing revelations emerged")

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