Saturday, July 30, 2005

Critics Squeeze Cisco Over China

Kevin Poulsen writes in Wired News:

Internet equipment maker Cisco Systems is fighting a shareholder action that urges the company to adopt a comprehensive human rights policy for its dealings with the Chinese government, and with other states practicing political censorship of the internet.

A shareholder resolution filed last May by the Massachusetts-based investment group Boston Common Asset Management calls for Cisco to add human rights considerations to the criteria it uses to certify resellers.

"What we want is for them to be a better company, to ensure that their reputation is not in jeopardy and to have the processes in place to prove that they are not complicit in the abuses that are occurring around the world through the use of technology," says Dawn Wolfe, a social research and advocacy analyst at the firm, which prides itself on its socially responsible investments.

A report from the OpenNet Initiative watchdog group last April singled out Cisco for allegedly enabling the Chinese government's notorious "Great Firewall," a filtering system that prevents Chinese netizens from visiting websites that criticize the government.


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