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Falun Gong Sues Cisco

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the freedom-through-technology dept.

Privacy 312

schwit1 submitted a story from CNet. From the article: "Cisco Systems designed a surveillance system to help the Chinese government track and ultimately suppress members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, according to a lawsuit the group filed against the network equipment maker. The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, alleges Cisco supplied and helped maintain a surveillance system known as the 'Golden Shield' that allowed the Chinese government to track and censor the group's Internet activities. As a result of Cisco's technology, Falun Gong members suffered false imprisonment, torture, and wrongful death, according the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of the religious group by the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Law Foundation."

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312 comments

Religions (1, Flamebait)

mms3k (2192016) | more than 2 years ago | (#36221954)

It's once again religions that is causing problems. Not only this, but since religions were invented. Religion was basically a way to control people without valid reasoning. It sounds a lot better to go to war "for the god" than if the king admitted he just wants more power, gold and lands. When Falun Gong started mass gathering on the streets of China, of course the Chinese government saw a problem with that. It's an absolutely HUGE nation with more than 1,3 billion people and huge land area. Combined with poverty a religious movement taking a stand will cause huge problems. Most of the Chinese also understand this.

What I do, however, see interesting that Falun Gong takes aspects of Buddhism. As I see it Buddhism is the one religion that makes most sense and is actually good for people in general. It doesn't tell people that they should spread Buddhism via forced violence like Christianity and Islam does. It tries to tell people to accept people the way they are. This is extremely visible in South East Asian countries where it's not uncommon to see men who have always felt like they should be women actually be so. Buddhism accepts that instead of just man and a woman there is four genders - man, woman, ladyboy and hermafrodites. Transsexuals are still far from accepted in western countries where the religion has generally been Christianity. Christianity as a religion is really closed minded and promotes forcing people to think the same way you do. Buddhism on the other hand is based on the belief that you should be kind to others and let them be the way they are if it doesn't hurt other people. By being like this you get karma and in future you might be in better position.

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36221964)

s/religion/sect

Re:Religions (0)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36221974)

At first I thought "Wow, the 50 Cent Army got their post in here really quickly", but then I was thrilled to see that the Ladyboy Hermaphrodite troll is back. We've missed you, sir.

Re:Religions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36221976)

are you a chink

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222858)

are you a chink

more of a chunk....

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222014)

wish I could give you some karma for that inventive off topic tanget *just* to work in ladyboys in a post about cisco

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222062)

Take a look at Sri Lanka, Buddhism there hasn't been very nice to Hinduism. All religions are bullshit because they tend to be repressive, same with the Communist government in China.

Re:Religions (5, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222072)

Blame the victims, always a good side to take.

Actually, religion had an important role in the ancient world, establishment of moral codes that were conductive to building a community and society. The Ten Commandments for example really aren't about control without valid reason, but a good basis for society.

The first few are about there being only one religion, that keeps sectarian violence to a minimum, then a break/worship day - even for slaves. Honor your elders, no murder - leads to revenge killing, takes valuable members of the community away, no adultery - those lead to honor killings, outcasts and revenge killings, no theft, no lying about your neighbors.

Really how are those guidelines bad things?

Re:Religions (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222296)

What's bad is that you have to make up cockamamie stories about gods and burning bushes to push a moral code on people, and here, thousands of years later and after the development of academic philosophies, instead of just adopting these codes because they make for better societies, we have to keep trying to get people to believe in myths and fairy tales.

Re:Religions (2)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222406)

It depends on your perspective.

I find having people make shit up as they go along to be a very poor method of creating laws. Having one guy in a black robe thinking he(she) knows better than everyone else to be just as offensive. We all believe in myths an fairy tales. You just happen to believe that man can rule over other men, even as man has proven he cannot even rule himself.

Re:Religions (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222648)

Having one guy in a black robe thinking he(she) knows better than everyone else to be just as offensive.

Right. That's why laws are made by legislatures in most civilized places, and have been for many hundreds of years (how long as England had a Parliament?). Legislatures consist of a large group of people who represent the people, not just one guy in a black robe. Thus this group of people can argue and come to a consensus before any new law is enacted.

You just happen to believe that man can rule over other men, even as man has proven he cannot even rule himself.

Who else is going to rule over men? Aliens from another planet? Or a god? Where is this god? I haven't seen any, nor any credible evidence of any. I have read stories about some god or gods (it's hard to tell which because they don't seem to have the same personality in all stories) that appeared about 2000 years ago, but then disappeared and haven't been seen since except by a few crackpots. I certainly haven't seen any stone tablets with any laws that we're supposed to follow, only a crazy-sounding story (involving a parting of a sea, clearly an impossible phenomenon) about some stone tablets which are now conveniently missing. Believing that story makes about as much sense as believing that all humans' mental problems come from "body thetans" which are disembodied souls brought here by Xeno on a space-faring 737 airplane and blown up in a volcano by an atomic bomb.

Re:Religions (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222414)

There is the small detail of delivering these people from slavery, you know, the plagues, parting the Red Sea, blah blah blah.

And the whole point of "keep trying to get people to believe in myths and fairy tales.", such as government programs that will solve the problems of healthcare financing and of course security against terrorism that threatens our Constitutional protections.

You see, it's all a matter of which side you're on...

Re:Religions (3, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222486)

With the advent of cities and societies following the end of the Ice Age there had to be moral codes, now how do you establish those? With stories of how and why the God(s) everyone believes in gave us these laws, or through dictatorship.

Explaining to Stone and Bronze Age man that he shouldn't kill his neighbor, steal the neighbor's wife and sell the neighbor's children into slavery for the good of the society isn't going to get much traction. Telling SaBA man that God forbids the killing of his neighbor, lusting after the neighbor's wife and selling the neighbor's children into slavery is more likely to get the guy not to do those things.

While I'm not and never have been religious, I understand why it was needed to create frameworks for society.

Re:Religions (3)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222696)

after the development of academic philosophies, instead of just adopting these codes because they make for better societies

Academic philosophies are divided between utilitarianism and various forms of natural rights theory. They are so gridlocked that choosing one as the best is essentially a religious choice and not much different than just accepting whatever some religious body teaches as the best way to go.

Maybe (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222380)

Honor your elders, no murder - leads to revenge killing, takes valuable members of the community away, no adultery - those lead to honor killings, outcasts and revenge killings, no theft, no lying about your neighbors.

....which very few people followed because maybe, just maybe, they saw them as just capricious rules with set to control them? On the other hand, if there was a leader-philosopher that explained in a reasoned way why those things - like revenge killings - were not a good idea, people would follow them more often?

I don't know about you, but when the reasoning behind a rule or law is explained, I have a much greater chance of accepting it and following it.

God says NO! Is a shitty and superstitious reason to me.

Since the parent brought up Buddhism, in that "religion" you are encouraged to prove to yourself that the teachings are correct. "If you see the Buddha on the side of the road - kill him!" is the metaphor used.

Mostly I agree: religion was a way for primitive man to teach moral codes. We should be beyond such backward thinking by now. Unfortunately, in 2,000 years, we haven't progressed very much - except for fancier tools.

Re:Maybe (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222532)

Humans were and are violent Great Apes living in giant societies that are alien to what our species lived like for the majority of it's time on the planet. Why would we be beyond what we were 2000 or 5000 years ago?

The fact that we don't throw feces at each other during arguments is real progress.

Re:Religions (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222076)

No, it is the Chinese government that is the cause of problems in China.

Re:Religions (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222428)

No, it is the Athiest Chinese government that is the cause of problems in China.

FTFY.

If some duche bag wants to drag religion into this, then it is fair game to point out that officially, China is Atheist (No God but the State). They don't like any religion, but tolerate some more than others.

Re:Religions (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222506)

It is not the Chinese government's atheism that leads them to do horrible things. Most ardent atheists do not agree with the suppression of religious ideas by force.

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222104)

You are missing what you should not be missing and without it you have nothing.

It is Christianity and Buddhism that do not agree.

Christ and Buddha would likely find far more accord.

The movement is not the message; do not confuse the wax and the flame or you are liable to get burned.

Human rights is everyone's "problem." If religion is trying to spread basic human rights is that not a stand worth taking? Were those not the stands both Christ and Buddha took?

It's once again religions that is [sic] causing problems! Said the Brahmins... Said the Romans...

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222122)

So what you're saying is the competition of belief systems leads to war, poverty and death and we should all have one dictated by...?

See right there is where your reasoning becomes "religious".

If anything it's the competition of religion that leads to peace and prosperity because it forces literally everyone to come to the realization that there's more than one way to think and believe. If you have Muslims and Christians trying to save your soul, Jews trying to enslave you for being Goyum cattle, Bhuddists trying to teach you rubbing budda's belly is good luck, Indians talking about freaky 6-armed elephant chicks that you pray to while facing east, Two different Islamic dudes one saying strapping a bomb on your chest and running into a restaraunt is jihad, the other saying a pious life is jihad both saying you get 70+ virgins when you die, and on the streetcorner is some "African American" individual in full W-T-F Garb dancing and singing in the most nuerotic way possible to make it rain (or maybe just get some change), THAT my friend, is when you might begin thinking "you know these guys are all kinda nuts maybe I'll just go have a taco".

Heaven forbid the Chinese government ever takes over all 1.3 billion people. You want to know why? Because it doesn't matter WHAT religion is out there, once one of them gets a majority, you my friend had better join them and hope they find your hair color and shape of your pinkie toe to your liking because otherwise you're fertilizer like the rest of us.

I'm not an athiest or a christian exactly, but FFS, if God gave me common sense (and some gun money, thanks lord!) why not listen to it for once?

BTW, there's a reason Christianity gets the most nukes.

The real WTF is they're trying to sue a company for what they did on foreign soil. GL/HF, nothing is gonna happen there.

Re:Religions (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222150)

via forced violence like Christianity

The 12th century called. They'd like their Crusades back, please.

Re:Religions (1)

CTU (1844100) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222196)

It is a shame all religion can't be like that. Still I guess I am like that myself, just because i may not agree with somebody belief, but I accept it as long as it does not harm anybody else.

Tho now I do want to know more about Buddhism.

Re:Religions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222538)

Hi there, informed person. I'd like to spread the Christian faith with a kalashnikov or an m16, but I can't find suitable directions in Christ's reported words and example. Can you help me find 'em, I start ASAP.
Besides, to counter your steering of topic from abusive governments in bed with corporations to religion, what you write about China's government fits my idea of "People's Republic" perfectly. :D

In defense of Religions (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222846)

In defense of Religions, they seem like an effective structure to stand up to governments and corporations.

Leads to a nice balance-of-power.

Cisco or China? (3, Insightful)

matthew_t_west (800388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222012)

The real issue here is how China is treating those it thinks are part of the Falun Gong movement. Cisco's equipment is one of the tools used to track the movement, but it doesn't seem that Cisco orchestrated the capture, detainment, torture, and deaths of innocent people. China did.

M

Re:Cisco or China? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222032)

A bit hypocrite because if you try to use the same logic with guns, you get modded down by stupid USA citizens.

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222350)

Logical only if you can show that Smith & Wesson is knowingly and actively helping criminals be criminals. Cisco knows that it is helping stifle dissent and trample human rights.

Re:Cisco or China? (1, Interesting)

halfEvilTech (1171369) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222048)

This isn't much different than families of murder victims suing gun manufactors. People want to place the blame somewhere and in this case they think they stand a better chance suing Cisco instead of their own government. It would be safe to assume that if they sued the Chinese government instead, there would be no trial just jail and death sentences for those doing the suing.

Re:Cisco or China? (5, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222102)

It is pretty different. The suit alleges that Cisco was actively complicit in the persecution of the Falun Gong. It wasn't like the Chinese gov't bought a bunch of their product made for general use and Cisco had no idea what it was going to be used for.

Re:Cisco or China? (4, Interesting)

cfalcon (779563) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222124)

Exactly this. A gun can be used for many things, as can a router. But if you are supplying a known assassin with tech support about how best to pick off preschoolers, you have crossed the line from supplying a product into aiding and abetting a crime. Almost all guns are NOT used for crimes, ever. The same is true of routers- but NOT of routers sold to China to help setup their oppressive firewall.

That's the big difference here.

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

matthew_t_west (800388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222244)

Yes, except this is a sovereign government hiring a network company to help them set up a network. Layer 2 and 3 don't need to know what applications are running on top of it.

M

Re:Cisco or China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222294)

I think the point is that they did know. Not only did they know but they actively helped the government to set it up and track the victims. It's not like they just ordered a bunch of equipment from a catalog and that was the end of it.

Re:Cisco or China? (3, Insightful)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222418)

The summary and the article both make it pretty clear that Cisco's complicity goes beyond just setting up a surveillance net.

"Cisco Systems designed a surveillance system to help the Chinese government track and ultimately suppress members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, according to a lawsuit the group filed against the network equipment maker.

"The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, alleges Cisco supplied and helped maintain a surveillance system known as the 'Golden Shield' that allowed the Chinese government to track and censor the group's Internet activities.

"The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, alleges that Golden Shield--described in Cisco marketing materials as Policenet--resulted in the arrest of as many as 5,000 Falun Gong members. Cisco "competed aggressively" for the contracts to design the Golden Shield system "with full knowledge that it was to be used for the suppression of the Falun Gong religion," according to the lawsuit."

This is not to say that the case has any merit, but just to point out that the lawsuit is not the same thing as "families of murder victims suing gun manufactors (sic)".

Re:Cisco or China? (4, Interesting)

matthew_t_west (800388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222804)

Yes, but Cisco also provides these services to businesses.

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6712/index.html [cisco.com]

The extent at which Cisco helped them is not publicly known. Cisco does not admit to anything other than selling hardware and software services.

"Cisco does not operate networks in China or elsewhere, nor does Cisco customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression," the representative said in a statement, adding that the company sells the same equipment in China that it sells in other nations in compliance with U.S. government regulations."

Hard to say... but either way private multi-national corporations only operate for one thing: profit.

Re:Cisco or China? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222264)

You've gotta be kidding. NO ONE uses a gun on preschoolers. I mean, NO ONE!! Think, dude. Little kid, fast bullet, SPLAT!!! Shit, there's no meat left to go in the soup! Total waste.

No soup for you!

Re:Cisco or China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222400)

Following this logic you should sue every country that exports weapons. Including US that supported Afghanistan in war with Russia.

Question is did they actively participated in the hunt. There is a difference between here is a gun and here is a gun and I think I see a deer over there.

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

siglercm (6059) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222190)

Do you really think that Cisco is stupid enough or greedy enough to willingly develop technology for and in partnership with the Chinese government specifically targeted at tracking down and persecuting and killing members of Falun Gong? Hey, you might be right, but I doubt it.

Re:Cisco or China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222352)

That is what the court system is for. To find the facts and remove doubt.

Re:Cisco or China? (2)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222356)

And arms dealers that have sold weapons and ammo to Libya should also be shocked and appalled that a man who has been implicated repeatedly in the murder of innocent civilians across the world would actually turn those weapons on innocent civilians in his own country.

Cisco knew with 100% certainty that its products would be used to suppress free speech, hunt dissidents, and enforce the great firewall. Whether they are legally obligated or have any culpability is up to the courts to decide.

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222408)

Do you really think that Cisco is stupid enough or greedy enough to willingly develop technology for and in partnership with the Chinese government specifically targeted at tracking down and persecuting and killing members of Falun Gong? Hey, you might be right, but I doubt it.

As a chinese, I do, since they have been doing this for years. Banning the FLG and the set up of the GFW did cross paths, at least chronologically.

Re:Cisco or China? (2)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222594)

They are absolutely greedy enough, their investors expect nothing less. As for stupid, this is just the opposite. The Chinese government is a huge, *huge* client, and Cisco stands to make massive amounts of money if it impresses the Chinese govt with their performance of this contract.

Unfortunately, business is just set up to be nearly completely amoral (not immoral, though that is often the result.) The idea that markets will always result in the best, and most moral results is a fantasy.

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222148)

> This isn't much different than families of murder victims suing gun manufactors.

It wouldn't be, if the gun manufacturers also trained the killers and showed them how to find and kill their victims.

Re:Cisco or China? (3, Insightful)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222186)

Compared to commercial gun manufacturers, Cisco probably had a much clearer idea of who they were dealing with and the consequences involved in being complicit -- unless we change the comparison to companies selling guns to known criminals.

Re:Cisco or China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222192)

Manufactor?! English as the third language is very tricky...

Re:Cisco or China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222200)

Yeah, around these parts felons can't buy guns.

Re:Cisco or China? (2)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222268)

This isn't much different than families of murder victims suing gun manufactors. People want to place the blame somewhere and in this case they think they stand a better chance suing Cisco instead of their own government. It would be safe to assume that if they sued the Chinese government instead, there would be no trial just jail and death sentences for those doing the suing.

But did the gun manufacturers knowingly sell the guns directly to known murderers that were widely presumed to almost certainly be murdering again?

Isn't doing business with ruthless oppressive regimes supposed to be bad?

The other week there was some news here in Sweden about Volvo getting to sell a lot of nice black cars to the Chinese government. Some Chinese boss of some magnitude at Volvo was posing with a Chinese official in front of a row of new Volvos on Tienanmen square and some Swedish boss in the corporation was interviewed, saying how good it was for Volvo in China to be seen driven by party brass.

Shouldn't he instead have been trying to cover his face, whimpering "Don't look at me! Don't look at me...?"

Not the same as suing gun manufacturers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222610)

It's more like the criminal prosecutions of Madoff's software engineers. Sure, they weren't the ones running the scam, but they knew about it, and wrote custom software to enable it to happen.

Most guns are not actually used to commit crimes. They are certainly not tailor-made for specific criminals, who have specific criminal intentions.

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222128)

One might as well sue IBM for supplying tabulation equipment to the germans, so they could track "guests" at jewish concentration camps.

While I don't think this suit will succed for a variety of reasons, such as it happening under non-us jurisdiction as well as the plaintiff not having standing in the case.

Re:Cisco or China? (3, Informative)

the simurgh (1327825) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222218)

they did sue IBM for this and other actions. they won. now how do i add that little r symbol to the name IBM on here

Re:Cisco or China? (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222160)

Cisco merely provided cost effective dissident detection solutions to global partners, for profit!

Re:Cisco or China? (2)

matthew_t_west (800388) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222258)

Calling all police forces: need to catch your bad guy? We can detect all potential threats for you, so all you have to do is cuff 'em and let the legal system sort it out. PoliceNet, a Cisco Product.

M

Re:Cisco or China? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222392)

Kind of like how IBM had nothing to do with the calculation of German census data used to help the Third Reich wage genocide against the Jews. Am I right?

I suppose it would be completely fine, In Your Humble Opinion, if I chose to supply the genocidal maniacs in Africa with weapons to help them wage genocide?

This is the weight of your sentiments: That I may personally profit from the torture and deaths of my fellow man and be sound in heart; so long as I don't personally commit the torture and murders myself?

Can you spot the flaw in your reasoning?

Re:Cisco or China? (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222640)

Publicity.

You can't sue China because it is a sovereign state (the lawsuit would be thrown out immediately).

Suing Cisco they get a lot of press coverage where they will center about the HR situation in China and were Cisco will be secondary. That's the primary aim, and they get it even if they lose the lawsuit.

Good luck. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222022)

I don't think it will work, but it is an interesting case. The implications would be staggering if they won. Of course, the 1% would never allow that.

Re:Good luck. (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222106)

Why should it work? Shouldn't China be held liable, not Cisco?

Maybe Cisco can sue China in turn, but at the moment, this sounds like someone that got attacked with a kitchen knife suing the kitchen knife maker.

Re:Good luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222204)

Then based on what are e.g. chem companies held responsible for simply selling compounds that can be used for making explosives or psychoactives? Simple (by now used-to-be-) everyday-compounds that can be equally used for making anything else, so that industries built on making anything else now suffer the extra costs of this?

Re:Good luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222278)

Not speaking about that experimentalists by now as an implication are simply forced to give up their hobbies, as natural citizens have no legal ways of obtaining a bunch of fundamental chemicals. Sure children are not interested in natural sciences any more, as physics and chemistry can indeed be boring on a blackboard/sheet. No experiments, no scientists. Is that what we want?

Re:Good luck. (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222252)

How could China possibly be held liable? Everything the Chinese gov't does within their own borders is basically legal by definition. What can a US judge do to them? For all they care you might as well be suing Mother Nature. Cisco, on the other hand, is a US company and may be in violation of laws prohibiting certain activities overseas (if such laws exist, I've no idea) and more importantly, they can actually be tried and held liable here, unlike the Chinese.

Re:Good luck. (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222272)

Also, you missed the critical part of the summary that was even helpfully underlined and hyperlinked for you. They plaintiffs allege that Cisco was contracted for the specific purpose of committing the persecutions, it even had a name. So no, it isn't like a kitchen knife maker being sued, it's more like the guy driving the getaway car being prosecuted, even though he never even stepped in the bank that was robbed.

Re:Good luck. (3, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222390)

If a guy walks into a store and says "hey I need to cut my neighbors head off, which knife do you have that would be best for the job?" You then go, "yes sir, this one right here should work nice, the serrated edge should cut right through the neck without the blade turning on the bone!" Well then you might could sue the guy who sold him the knife. I think they are alleging that this is essentially what Cisco did.

Re:Good luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222482)

The Chinese gov't already has a well known and well earned reputation as a group of people not fond of people disagreeing with them or being kind to said individuals. Cisco is being held to account for dealings that would most likely cause capture, detainment, and likely torture and murder of dissidents. This is more like giving a knife to a person already in the act of stabbing someone or catching them and holding them for a knife wielding maniac than just offering an innocuous product that might be used for nefarious ends. There was willful and active participation on Cisco's part.

Where the buck stops (1)

hilldog (656513) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222036)

When it comes down to business and making a buck or human rights business wins every time. It's always business as usual no matter the human rights record. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with human rights and companies making poor choices.

Re:Where the buck stops (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222850)

It's always business as usual no matter the human rights record.

Corporations, by design, do not recognize "human rights".

As long as we're all going to go along with the fiction that the corporate structure is still useful in the 21st century, we're going to continue down this destructive road.

The notions that corporations have any "rights" is just ridiculous.

As long as the attention is on Cisco selling police state technology to China and not on Apple building iPhones in murderous sweatshops, everything's going to be peachy. As long as we don't have to examine our own complicity in the world's problems, we can all still pretend we're really good people. As long as we're going to continue to allow our own consumption patterns benefit the worst people in the world, we're going to keep getting what we've got.

Phalus Dong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222052)

I always thought they hide something ...

Re:Phalus Dong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222164)

Redundant.

If you are breaking the law... (2)

davevr (29843) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222088)

... then it is not false imprisonment. Not to say that the law shouldn't be changed, but hey, get your terms straight...

Re:If you are breaking the law... (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222566)

... then it is not false imprisonment. Not to say that the law shouldn't be changed, but hey, get your terms straight...

Not that I side with just another sect, but a government can impose an unlawful imprisonement. This goes like that:

  1. Chinese Government sets a set of laws (even dictatures have laws).
  2. Group or individuals read the laws, and try to get their objectives being careful of not breaking any.
  3. The government notices, and the state security imprison that people even if they didn't break the laws. To avoid making it too obvious, usually the detainees disappear until they have been punished enough, or forever.
  4. Any investigations about the fate of that people is stopped in its tracks, and the officers responsible are rewarded.

There have been news about chinese "unofficial" prisons. So yes, you could have unlawful imprisonment by the state. Anyway, in China the laws that apply are Chinese law, so it should be a Chinese judge who investigates this and issues veredict (I would not count about that). This lawsuit is just a publicity stunt, they are suing Cisco because if they sued China it would be dismissed almost immediately.

Re:If you are breaking the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222662)

The problem with your statement is that in China, unlike in most Western countries, people can be and are arrested and imprisoned without being charged for breaking any laws. That is why they say false imprisonment.

Oh boy... (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222100)

This is going to be one to watch: The US is supposed to be all against repression and lovey-dovey about religious freedom and stuff; but there is No Fucking Way that they would let the precedent be set that corporate quislings executing illegal state activities are in any way culpable(see also retroactive telco immunity...) because that would cut into their own ability to wiretap whatever they want with the full connivance of basically anybody who is anybody.

Awkward. Hopefully publicly so....

Re:Oh boy... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222170)

If I had to guess, the Judicial branch will let it slide because such products and services were not endorsed by the Federal Government. Carry on Cisco, business as usual.

However, the aftermath of this might involve legislation to prevent future exportation of technology to be used in this manor...exceeeeeppt, you can still sell it inside the US.

See? We can have our cake and eat it too.

Re:Oh boy... (2)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222446)

Whatever the Chinese gov't does in China is legal. By definition, considering the type of government they have. Does the US even have any laws that prohibit US companies from participating in such oppression?

Re:Oh boy... (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222574)

I think it is more likely to be decided on whether there is a law that covers this sort of cooperation.

It's a fact that Cisco did something legal in China. The Chinese government was their customer.

However, a company can still face trial for indulging in certain sorts of business practices. It doesn't matter if it happened in China and was sold in China only. You can still be in violation of US law. The US may not be able to reach out and take you from your country of origin, but it's technically not illegal for the US to outlaw someone who has never stepped foot on US soil or even had dealings with the US. There's nothing preventing it from declaring all French people guilty of being French and thus subject to the death penalty. Admittedly, not very diplomatic, or practical, but a sovereign country can pass any law it wants to, and it will apply to you unless you stay out of their clutches.

So, yes, Cisco could be held accountable if there is a law, and if Cisco broke that law. I don't think such a law will be read as apply to China, since laws like this tend to have opt-out clauses where the Executive branch either creates a list of "evil countries" or it has the power to create a list of exceptions to human rights regulations. You can expect that China (and Cisco) will likely get a pass on this one.

Re:Oh boy... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222412)

Actually the US govt. exempts itself from legal suits and all kinds of laws many, many times. In at least one case a US president (Jackson I think) actually just ignored a Supreme Court ruling. He completely blew it off.

Related lawsuit filed against second U.S. corp. (-1, Flamebait)

siglercm (6059) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222130)

The Chinese group, through further assistance of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Law Foundation, has filed a multi-billion dollar US lawsuit against Ford Motor Corporation. They have documented the use of numerous models of Ford vehicles by Chinese government officers in the arrest of members of the religious group, leading to their false imprisonment, torture, and wrongful death.

Re:Related lawsuit filed against second U.S. corp. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222342)

If Ford had provided technical assistance on which model of vehicle would be best for transporting the Falun Gong members to labor camps, and provided marketing documents indicating that "you can fit three dissidents comfortably in the back seat," maybe then it would be the same.

Re:Related lawsuit filed against second U.S. corp. (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222436)

I think that one misses the mark by a sight more than the cisco one. Cisco deliberately built systems to aid in the hunting down of dissidents while ford just sold cars and trucks for Officials to ride around in. I'm not buying this one at all, the first was iffy enough.

Re:Related lawsuit filed against second U.S. corp. (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222520)

Except that Ford accepted a special order from China to design, manufacture, and operate vehicles specifically for the persecution of Falun Gong members. So yeah, in that way the analogy would work.

charity starts at home (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222292)

I suggest the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Law Foundation, on behalf of native Americans, sue Winchester Firearms, Colt Industries, and Smith & Wesson for designing systems to help the white man suppress the Indians.

Woosh! There goes to the point you are missing! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222300)

Falung Gong is sueing cisco not because it's right, but it's because it's sensationalism.They want to bring attention to their presecution in china. You can't sue china in china, you can't sue china in the US. So you sue Cisco for providing the equipment to China.

Of course they will lose, but it gets the point across. People in China are being persecuted because of their religion and Cisco is an accomplice. It's not about holding cisco liable for anything lawfully wrong, it's about pointing the morality spotlight towards cisco and china.

Should Falung Gong do this? Hell yes! At most some lawyers get rich, but it is a shot at getting the discussion of religious freedom started.

Nokia, Samsung, Cisco. Just sue them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222320)

Nokia, Samsung, Cisco and a bunch of smaller, less known businesses.
Just sue them for the same reason.

This is one reason I've never incorporated (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222322)

I don't for a second believe that "Cisco" did anything. I can easily believe someone in Cisco's employ did something stupid and/or evil.

When you have people working "for" you, they're going to fuck you over eventually, either deliberately or negligently.

Re:This is one reason I've never incorporated (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222492)

If that is the case then when can any behavior ever be attributed to a corporation rather than its employees? Since all corporations are comprised of people, this argument can be used to absolve every corporation of everything ever.

Re:This is one reason I've never incorporated (1)

cowboy76Spain (815442) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222616)

Well, but they were obeying whose orders? And who was not checking the stupid ones?

An intelligent boss won't tell you to do something illegal. He will tell you "I want more deals with China, you work out the details". Then he'll go golfing, not because he likes to but because when thing begin to get hotter, he can then show his horror at your misbehaviour and lament that "if I only had known about that, I would not have never approved of it."

I wonder if Westerners can join it? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222454)

Seriously. Cisco has helped Chinese leaders and their minions attack loads of western computers and steal money,info from them. Perhaps, if a group lawsuit is done, this could be taken on in a large way. Ideally, it would lead Cisco to pull out of China.

Re:I wonder if Westerners can join it? (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222788)

Seriously. Cisco has helped Chinese leaders and their minions attack loads of western computers and steal money,info from them. Perhaps, if a group lawsuit is done, this could be taken on in a large way. Ideally, it would lead Cisco to pull out of China.

I think I'd sooner hit Cisco, where it counts, the wallet. There are now viable open source alternatives to Cisco routers: OpenBSD's OSPF/BGP implementation and Vyatta. Both can do VLANs, VRF, VRRP, and MPLS. Both can effectively be drop in replacements. I run a small business on the side and all of my infrastructure is OpenBSD-based.

Re:I wonder if Westerners can join it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222836)

Why would you want to join it? It is just a more moronic version of scientology.

Anyone can sue anyone, merit is not required (2)

guspasho (941623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222464)

Whatever the Chinese gov't does in China is legal. By definition, considering the type of government they have. Does the US even have any laws that prohibit US companies from participating in such oppression? I think that would determine whether this case has any merit to begin with.

Re:Anyone can sue anyone, merit is not required (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222722)

"Whatever X gov't does in X is legal."

So... The Nazis were right after all?

Sorry. I had to be "that guy".

Re:Anyone can sue anyone, merit is not required (1)

Josir (895925) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222766)

Nazis also did "legal" treatment to jews and other minorities. Were they right ? This case remembers me the IBM prosecution that helped Hitler to do the jew census. This also remembers me the documentary "The Corporation"

Jurisdiction? (2)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222562)

How is this litigable in a US court?

Re:Jurisdiction? (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222658)

Yeah this was my first question. Exactly who has legal standing to bring the case?

Re:Jurisdiction? (4, Interesting)

andb52 (854780) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222688)

Jurisdiction comes from the Alien Tort Statute. There have been a number of recent cases of aliens suing corporations in the US because of violations of international law. Whether what Cisco did in China was legal under Chinese law does not matter; the ATS is all about whether norms of customary international law have been violated. Torture is the primary example. This is not some crazy lawsuit; it is a tried and true method of punishing corporations for their complicity in human rights violations.

IBM and the Nazi government (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36222666)

n/t

Companies (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#36222756)

These days companies do what is in their own best interests, making money. It is a shame that the world has become so unprincipled as to accept money knowing it would be used for doing harm. I was raised to be aware of social issues and with a sense of ethics. Had I been an executive at Cisco, I would have told the CCP to go fly a kite and that I would not be complicit in assisting them with potential civil rights abuses. No amount of money would make up for the guilt I would feel knowing that my products would be used to potentially arrest and torture a member of a peaceful protesting movement only seeking to better their own lives.
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