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EFF Takes On Cisco's Role In China

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the technolegal-quagmires dept.

China 84

decora writes "Several years ago, writer Du Daobin posted several essays on the internet, protesting such things as unfair taxes and the corruption of the media. He was then charged with 'inciting subversion of state power,' arrested, and after many legal twists and turns, tortured in prison. Daobin, along with several other dissidents with similar stories, decided to sue Cisco Systems (PDF) earlier this year under the legal theory that it aided and abetted China's violation of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991. As the case moves forward, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security has stepped up its surveillance, harassment, and interrogation of Daobin and the others. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has now joined the Laogai Research Foundation to draw attention to the case. As part of its opening move, it has asked Cisco to make public statements in support of human rights, hoping that the company's influence with the Chinese government will provide some modicum of protection for the threatened dissidents."

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Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206308)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you ever knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206390)

Can someone tell me what this spam is good for? It hardly makes any sense at all.

Re:Golden Girls! (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206504)

When even AC is confused about his own post you know /. has lost its footing.

Taco (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206326)

Taco is gone. /. going down hill in 3 ... 2 ... 1

Have to love China... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206382)

Don't think, STOP THINKING, YOU HAVE NO VOICE!!!

Still won't shut up? than your planning to disrupt the governmant, off to jail you go....

welcome to the free world

Re:Have to love China... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207458)

Chinese culture and Western ideals are orthogonal to each other. Those Chinese wishing something different should abandon China, move West, and help the West compete with the culture which rejected them.

Re:Have to love China... (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207664)

That's BS. Ethnically Chinese like living in a democracy together with the native people of Taiwan. Ethnically Chinese did enjoy freedom of speech in Hong Kong while outperforming China by a wide margin.

Many countries in the West had to live under dictatorial governments in the past. The Chinese have every right to reject their dictatorial government, too.

Those Chinese who don't like their fellow citizens to be free should abandon China and move to Libya. Oh wait - try Syria. Or ... well maybe they can just go to hell.

Re:Have to love China... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37207976)

As opposed to the "Bend over and drop your pants" line that you get when trying to get on a plane in the US?

The precedent needs to be set (4, Insightful)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206482)

I think it's time we stop letting companies off the hook for helping to subvert freedoms as a course of just doing business. If we allow corporations to just keep walking over our freedoms and violating human rights, just to make a buck or because it's what their customers order they need to be held to account in the same fashion as war criminals and other international criminals. If we are going to berate and sanction china for suppressing freedom, then why are we allowing the people who created the tools that allow them to do it walk away like they had nothing to do with it. If we discourage companies from acting in an anti freedom fashion then perhaps they will think twice about doing it and investors will think twice about investing in them.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206546)

Then we should string up the people that invented the computer and the Internet because the people who made it, their work is being used to subvert freedoms and human rights. All tools can be used for evil.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206608)

Let's just execute the dudes that discovered fire, the wheel, and coffee and call it a day.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206668)

That's a lot of executin'. I'm gonna need some coffee to work up to that.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206938)

Especially since the method of execution is strapping them to a wheel that is on fire.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207978)

I remember discovering The Wheel, but coffee and fire was not available for researching.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (2)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206702)

There is a difference between merely manufacturing a gun(which may be used by police etc.) and to knowingly sell it to a well-known certified nutcase who you *know*, is going to use it to commit random mass-murder.

What is being argued is that Cisco was *aware* of the purpose that their technology was to be used for, and still went along with the deal to make a profit.

A company's right to make a profit comes with certain implicit restrictions. Companies are not allowed to provide supplies to the enemies in times of war, for example. It is considered treason, in such a case. Cisco was expected as part of its social responsibilities as an entity that is theoretically immortal and that cannot be jailed etc., to not deliberately participate in trampling human rights. Why do you think people were so outraged with Nike using kids in their sweat-shops? Profit is not supposed to be everything.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206850)

I agree completely. "A well-known certified nutcase who you *know*, is going to use it to commit random mass-murder" should be required to use only free and open software and hardware that nobody makes any money off of. Well, except for being listed as a download which instills a sense of increased popularity and therefore creating potential revenue via job opportunities and speaking gigs at conventions. I guess we better string up Linus too since China uses Linux.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207990)

So because another, less efficient, product can be used for evil, we might as well allow our own, more efficient, product to be used for evil? That does not follow. All humans have an unalienable responsibility to not do evil, even Cisco. If humans choose to violate this responsibility, they should be sued by individuals or prosecuted by the state.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37208784)

So there is no problem I guess, as everyone knows there are no humans at Cisco.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37210418)

So is it only evil if you don't agree with it? Where do you draw the line? I think it's evil that I am required to have a google account to use my android phone. That's a violation of googles unalienable responsibility to not do evil! They are now required to be sued by me and prosecuted by the state!

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37215624)

We are not debating cutting off all options. We are talking about intent.

Cisco can hardly be blamed if they were not aware that their product will be used for censorship and trampling of human rights. If you sell me a knife assuming I was going to use it to cut vegetables, and I go and use it to kill a bunch of kids, you are not accountable.

However, if I practically came and told you "Hey, I wanna slash the throats of a bunch of infants, what kind of knife would recommend for that?" and you *still* sold me the knife, you deserve to go straight to jail.

If you cannot see the difference between the two, you should consider getting some therapy yourself. It is not about whether you can eradicate murder from the face of the earth. It is about whether you helped a murderer yourself.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206900)

"Profit is not supposed to be everything."

But maximizing stock value is, for a publicly traded company. The two are not easily separable.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

shugah (881805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206924)

But what is Cisco being accused of? Simply selling routers and network management tools that enable Internet access for millions of Chinese AND allow the Chinese government to filter, block and trace Internet communications? Or is this something more sinister, like helping the Chinese develop specific filters, policies, agents, etc. to specifically target political dissidents? I mean did Cisco simply give the Chinese government the tools to create the world's largest firewall, or did they specifically help them target political dissidents?

i posted a direct link to the legal complaint (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37212980)

the details are all inside.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207116)

What is being argued is that Cisco was *aware* of the purpose that their technology was to be used for, and still went along with the deal to make a profit.

Yes and even if they were that's an issue for Cisco's management, board of directors, shareholders and even their other customers. If you want a different government to order the company not to do business with another government then isn't that just as totalitarian in its own way?

What gets me is that Cisco is doing business with the Chinese government while said government's officials take bribes to look the other way while local factories crank out blatant pirate versions of Cisco's equipment on the night shift.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37215662)

It is not totalitarian at all.

Let us see, prosecuting "freedom fighters" or dissidents who kill/blow up innocents. Good.

Prosecuting dissidents who did not actually kill/hurt anyone and were simply disagreeing with you. Bad.

I am not sure why you are advocating apathy. We cannot obviously hand freedom and rights on a silver platter to others. They have to be desired and fought for, and thus earned. But there is no reason why we should be unsympathetic or become an accomplice towards making their lives even worse.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207558)

I mean if a representative from the gun company showed up, put the gun in the dictators hand and told him "This will be great for killing peasants and other people that don't agree with you" don't you think that company should have to be responsible for the misdeed perpetrated with the use of their products?

If Smith and Wesson knowingly and purposefully sold guns to a regime that they knew were going to use to kill and suppress the freedoms and human rights of their populace wouldn't you want them to be held to account?

Further down someone states that the US gov't should be held to account for doing business with China as well and I 100% agree with that as well, but as we'll see from a lot of the Arab Spring uprisings, many of those newly formed gov'ts will be a little bit more hesitant to jump into bed with the US.

They are following precedent (2)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206916)

the US government does business with the Chinese, the US government supports other companies doing business with the Chinese, the US maintains sells bonds to the Chinese.

Until you hold the US government accountable for its actions how can you hold any corporation accountable? Or is this a matter of one has guns and the other does not?

Really, how do you permit with one hand and deny with another? Why not penalize the American's who buy goods made in China, why not hold Apple accountable as well, after all their products are produced there which enables indirectly all the abuses accounted to the government of China.

If we are to discourage companies then we need to discourage our own government as well. Apparently we are all gung ho to do so provided the party we go after can't retaliate against us.

Re:They are following precedent (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207736)

No one is saying that Cisco shouldn't do business with China. You could argue that, but it isn't the issue presented here.
The issue is that Cisco has set up their equipment in such a way that it can be specifically used to violate human rights. Probably beta tested in the US under the "Patriot Act" which also violates human rights.

If you want to argue that it should be illegal to do business with countries that violate human rights, the sad fact is that no one should do business with the US. Or almost any other country for that matter.

Re:They are following precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37209706)

While they may violate US Human Rights laws there is no such thing in China. The model and configuration they sell to China doesn't get sold in US. So Technically they aren't violating any laws unless there is a law for this in China...which there is not.

We can't push our laws on other countries regardless of how we feel about them. Same goes for businesses. They are providing a business solution to the Chinese government.

Re:They are following precedent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37211080)

We can't push our laws on other countries regardless of how we feel about them.

Actually we do restrict the sale of certain kinds of weapons and technologies to countries that are too far out of line with our values. And there is a difference between "pushing our laws on other countries" and deciding not to knowingly aid and abet a foreign gov't's reprehensible behavior.

Re:They are following precedent (2)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37215584)

We are not debating law. We are debating ethics. Just because ethics don't always have a law enforcing them, doesn't means they are useless or unnecessary. It is not about "pushing" our laws or ethics at that. Basic human rights are not something that a country/government should be allowed to ignore, immaterial of whether it is USA or China. And it is our downright *duty* to push at least those, on the countries that do not honor them.

Re:They are following precedent (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207838)

why not hold Apple accountable as well, after all their products are produced

Products that we line up to buy....We are just as guilty as the government we accuse of standing by and doing nothing.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

OldeClegg (32696) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206950)

Can it be that while we (the USA) strictly prohibit participation in bribes, pay-offs, and gifts to overseas customers, putting us at a big competitive disadvantage , hanging a security badge on the sale insulates our vendors from further ethical obligation? Is that it?

Don't bother asking regular Cisco employees in silicon valley. In today's employment climate, we certainly cannot expect domestic employees of our multinationals to say anything - they're all afraid of defaulting on their mortgages, at the least.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206974)

Time to sue the weapon makers for the guns they make because they might have been used by the Chinese too. Or a murderer. We need to be cautious of the precedents we set.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207800)

Totally irrelevant strawman argument, as one would expect from an AC.

Although it might be a good idea to go after the companies that sell tuns to Mexican warlords. Particularly the ones used to kill American agents.

But then, selling weapons to people that kill Americans seems to be a big business in the US, so don't waste your time.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37207856)

Time to sue the weapon makers for the guns they make because they might have been used by the Chinese too. Or a murderer. We need to be cautious of the precedents we set.

God forbid that we ask our corporations to not sell weapons to our enemies. Remember folks, its only treason if you don't make a profit.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

jiteo (964572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37208002)

We let companies off the hook for the same reasons we fight for BitTorrent to be allowed unimpeded, or are against gun control. Companies make and sell tools, they are not responsible for the use people make of those tools.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37209510)

But we do ban certain types of weapons, traders of such weapons, and makers of such weapons cause of their "inhumane" or dangerous nature. I guess it all comes down to if you see the torture or pain in your living room TV.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37210206)

Although I agree that corporations, including Cisco, have gone way too far ( http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/03/cisco_charged_with_duplicity/ ) to protect their interests, this situation seems more to me like one mentioned here:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002209245_webccorrie16.html

In this case Caterpillar was sued because they made the Bulldozer that was used by Israel to crush a Palestinian house and kill a protester. Are the actions of a third party really the responsibility of the manufacturer? If so, Smith & Wesson along with Louisville Slugger and the makers of rat poison should have all been sued out of business by now.

If Cisco does not provide the capabilities in their equipment, China will just develop their own. Hell, the machines are already being made there. All Cisco can really do on its own is make a public statement.

Google refused to block searches for Tiananmen Square (good for them, shame on Bing), but China just went with another provider. Odds are your ISP does this, and your government also does this. The solution is not to bash the equipment manufacturer. The solution is to be patient and supportive of the Chinese people until their "Chinese Spring" occurs.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#37210762)

I don't think the Caterpillar company instructed the Israeli a-hole who drove the tractor through the person's home. There in lies the difference.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37215680)

I don't think I can stop you from bashing this helpless guy's brains out with a rock.

Tell you what? Since I cannot stop you from finding a rock anyways, allow me to loan you my hammer to kill him.

Re:The precedent needs to be set (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37216872)

I think it's time we stop letting companies off the hook for helping to subvert freedoms as a course of just doing business

Very true - and, I think, a sentiment that resonates strongly with the best in Socialism, much as I'm sure you'll hate me for saying so.

It has always been too simple to say that "So and so government oppresses whatever"; reality is far too complicated for that to be true. And it is worth remembering that whereas states are (at least in principle) sovereign withing their own borders, many multinational companies are in a position to flick their finger at most countries; which they routinely do.

And, just to repeat a well known fact: even a small country's government does not act in unison. There are no doubt large parts of China's government (in the wider sense) that are corrupt, practise torture, oppress freedom etc; but there are other parts - and prbably the larger part - who are against these things. Instead of condemning China as a whole, we should consider how we best support the part we like.

Let me take a stab at it... (2, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206582)

"At Cisco, we strive to provide excellent products and services in the network backbone and infrastructure space. Our company philosophy discourages all forms of discrimination, violence and abuse, including human rights abuses. Although we will never condone the suppression of free speech, or torturing of political prisoners, we are bound to the laws of any country in which we operate. Cisco recognizes the law of the land and will act accordingly."

In other words, we aren't taking a stand. You can forget about that that, buster.
They can say lots of things without saying anything.

Re:Let me take a stab at it... (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207024)

...Our company philosophy discourages all forms of discrimination, violence and abuse, including human rights abuses....

In other words, we aren't taking a stand. You can forget about that that, buster. They can say lots of things without saying anything.

So... they just "discourage" human right abuses. Like in "I hope you don't abuse our surveillance tools, or else we would be very sad and cry a little".

Re:Let me take a stab at it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37207068)

Or, as Cisco has done, they can say absolutely nothing in many, many words.

Re:Let me take a stab at it... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207524)

Cisco recognizes the law of the land and will act accordingly."

Roger that.

Oh, "and [we] are not responsible anything that happens, GOOD or bad, unless it's GOOD, as a result of local, territorial, national, or *whisperquick* int'l LAW that is beyond the scope of our DIRECTLY and closely-monitored legal responsibility. *mumblemumble* Customer *mumble* quality *grumble* provide *mumble* innovation *slidemumble*"

Is that pretty close to daily business speak? I've been there, man. Don't tell me I'm nuts :)

Re:Let me take a stab at it... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37215886)

But *which* land? Remembering the google spat, China kicked them out of the country while pointing out that if you don't comply with Chinese law, you can't do business in China.

Re:Let me take a stab at it... (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37208380)

You're right. Right now, Huawei and HP (a.k.a. H3C) are kicking Cisco's butt in China. Cisco is not about to make things worse by pissing the government off.

If we can torture people with impunity (2)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206682)

and have no risk of law suit, why shouldn't the Chinese be able to also?

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206768)

I think the most honest answer to that question is simply that "them" is more evil than "us".

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206966)

You do know that your conclusion is quite subjective, do you?
In various parts of the world, "US" make "them" look like well behaved.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207186)

It's actually not! :V

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality [wikipedia.org]

Note the relative positions of the US and China. We totally suck, and we still beat them. And if you don't think this is the best metric of "evil," then you're probably too rich to have an opinion worth listening to.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207492)

Ah yes, the evil of inequality vs the supposed good goal of equality, which stipulates that it doesn't matter if the poor are made poorer so long as the rich are less rich. And anybody who disagrees with that ideological nonsense will be ignored. Good show, old bean.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207570)

That's pretty much exactly what I was talking about. If you have failed to notice that the rich get richer by making the poor poorer, then your ignorance, generally caused by putting far more trust than is warranted in mass media, which you would only do if you had too much money to ever need to think about it, totally invalidates your opinion.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37208964)

You are completely ignorant of history. If the poor getting poorer is an effect of the rich getting richer than how do you explain the 19th Century in the United States?

The rich grew richer than they had ever been. The typical person also experienced a jump in wealth never before seen in such a short time. Were there all kinds of abuses, certainly there were. Still it proves that the poor getting poorer is not a necessary outcome of the rich getting richer.

There is also no justice in equality of result, opportunity perhaps but result no. Some people really are less deserving than others, if you can't understand that or can't accept it please leave the country.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37214050)

I'm ignorant of history? How is it that you missed the fact that the 19th Century was economically a fluke, caused by the rapid gains of industrialization? Same thing's happening now, in case you didn't notice. When computers and networks started being A Thing, commerce boomed so much that everyone's standard of living came up. The people in charge quickly reigned that in, though, and now we've once again reached normalcy: the rich have shut everyone else out of the main growth industry and are bargaining amongst themselves and their home governments to find the most efficient way to climb over more poor people. They went a little overboard this time, though, and so we have banks imploding and suchlike.

The entire problem with income inequality is that eventually, somebody has enough cash to buy laws and regulations that screw up industries in their favor. Equality of opportunity is therefore impossible without some reduction in inequality of result. That is the lesson that history teaches us.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37214154)

By the way, I would like to point out, before any strawmen get smacked, that this isn't garden variety "eat the rich" sentiment. Many of the people on top are evil, but many more of them are just stuck doing this because of the moronic legal structures we have built regarding corporations. If you're big enough to have influence over an appreciable number of them, screwing the poor is and always will be the most cost-effective way to do business, because their pennies add up to dollars. As a result of that very basic reality, businesses in our society are legally required to do so for the sake of their shareholders.

We have made mistakes, and the biggest one was failing to realize that a free market is naturally inclined to make itself un-free.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207958)

Cool map, nice presentation of the data. Too bad it doesn't make sense stand alone, outside the context of the article.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37214060)

That is the article, you twit. The data is right there. Why did you only look at the map?

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37214990)

That is the article, you twit. The data is right there. Why did you only look at the map?

I'll speak real slow.

I did not only look at the map.

My comment was that the image does not stand alone, and it would be nice if it did, it needs the context of the article to make sense. It's a cool image, I like it, fuck off.

The twit comment is completely uncalled for, and you are an extremely rude asshole.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207980)

You do know that your conclusion is quite subjective, do you?
In various parts of the world, "US" make "them" look like well behaved.

I intended for it to be relative. So "us" is USA or China, or Libya, or Chile, depending on where you were born.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207428)

We are not supposed to be doing those things. The fact that we are is an embarrassment and needs to be corrected immediately. the Chinese do not get a free pass just because the US government is hypocritical.

Re:If we can torture people with impunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37210928)

the USA imprisons and tortures political dissidents because of what they've written or said? citation please

rob gets the gate, refuses to go 100% censored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37206746)

kudos for that. we really appreciate your hardwired determination in avoiding letting your blog be completely owned by payper sloth opinion shapers (until now?). thanks again. your sense of fairness & courage under fire will be missed.

Cisco already has one (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206788)

Here [cisco.com]

Of course, it doesn't stop them mistreating or firing US employees by the thousands.

The EFF King has invited you to Lake Laogai. (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206852)

nt

How is it different from regulatory arbitrage? (1)

Palpatine_li (1547707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37206970)

Following the same line why not ban companies from hiring from foreign countries with lower minimal wages? Selling retired weapons to build theme parks, anyone? Why not attack the root of the problem which is an oppressive government? Oh, btw, borrow trillions from such a government is obviously not good for the protection of human rights, right?

Re:How is it different from regulatory arbitrage? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207090)

Nobody thinks borrowing from China is a good idea. How do we stop, though? They have ALL THE MONEY, because federally mandated accounting practices that keep giant corporations from telling complete fabrications to their shareholders caused all our industries to believe that moving to China was the best cost-cutting measure ever.

Re:How is it different from regulatory arbitrage? (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37209068)

because federally mandated accounting practices that keep giant corporations from telling complete fabrications to their shareholders caused all our industries to believe that moving to China was the best cost-cutting measure ever.

I can understand China being seen as a cost cutting measure. Do you actually mean to imply that part of the problem is a lack of accounting fraud and that corporations should be able to present inaccurate data to share holders?

Re:How is it different from regulatory arbitrage? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37213956)

No, what I mean to imply is that said accounting practices, which were pretty much necessary, had dire unintended consequences. See here. [forbes.com]

Re:How is it different from regulatory arbitrage? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37215896)

Because the people under that oppressive government make most of our stuff and do so for wages that couldn't buy lunch in the US. The people want their cheap tat, and China is the way to get it. In such vast quantities that to cease trading with China would result in many years of recession, even more so than now.

Another fantastically ambigious headline! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37207082)

EFF Takes On Cisco's Role In China

Note to editors: this, like most Slashdot headlines, can be read in two diametrically opposed ways. "Takes on" can be either "undertakes the burden of" or "actively opposes".

sorry (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37213022)

you are right, that is a pretty horrible headline. i will try harder next time.

Won't change a thing in China (4, Interesting)

jburroug (45317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207444)

I applaud the EFF's efforts here but I seriously doubt this will make a difference on the ground in China, even if Cisco were to see the light and speak up on behalf the dissidents. I also think the EFF is mistaken about which way influence flows in the CCP-Cisco relationship. Like any Western company doing major business with China, Cisco has had to jump through all sorts of hoops, hand over a large amount control of local operations to party apparatchiks and work under contracts that change significantly and frequently after being signed.

Cisco's position in China is so compromised at this point that I don't see how they could stand up to the CCP in this case without pulling out of the Chinese market entirely and I just don't mean stop selling in China. They have suppliers, production facilities, hundreds of directly employees not to mention billions of dollars of IP in China. All of that is vulnerable to CCP action if Cisco were to get on their bad side. China isn't like the West, the government won't need warrants or due process to arrest Cisco employers, seize facilities and IP or just choke off Cisco's supply train like they did with rare earths a few months ago.

Cisco is in too deep to take a stand at this point, they have more to lose than the CCP does. The CCP has demonstrated repeatedly that human rights aren't a concern for them and given their hostile reaction whenever a Western government or NGO (Nobel Committee) explicitly or implicitly criticizes their human rights record they aren't exactly concerned about their international image either. Cisco on the other hand pretty much can't win this no matter what they do. Just like most any Western company doing big business in China these days.

Cheers,

Josh

Re:Won't change a thing in China (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37208066)

Like any Western company doing major business with China, Cisco has had to jump through all sorts of hoops, hand over a large amount control of local operations to party apparatchiks and work under contracts that change significantly and frequently after being signed.

They don't actually have to do any of that, assuming that a legitimate scenario is to not do business with China at all. Which of course it is not.

Cisco is in too deep to take a stand at this point, they have more to lose than the CCP does. The CCP has demonstrated repeatedly that human rights aren't a concern for them and given their hostile reaction whenever a Western government or NGO (Nobel Committee) explicitly or implicitly criticizes their human rights record they aren't exactly concerned about their international image either. Cisco on the other hand pretty much can't win this no matter what they do. Just like most any Western company doing big business in China these days.

LOL! Yeah, and in this respect, the Chinese government is much more honest and open than the corporations it does business with.

Re:Won't change a thing in China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37209822)

Like any Western company doing major business with China, Cisco has had to jump through all sorts of hoops, hand over a large amount control of local operations to party apparatchiks and work under contracts that change significantly and frequently after being signed.

They don't actually have to do any of that, assuming that a legitimate scenario is to not do business with China at all. Which of course it is not.

Cisco is in too deep to take a stand at this point, they have more to lose than the CCP does. The CCP has demonstrated repeatedly that human rights aren't a concern for them and given their hostile reaction whenever a Western government or NGO (Nobel Committee) explicitly or implicitly criticizes their human rights record they aren't exactly concerned about their international image either. Cisco on the other hand pretty much can't win this no matter what they do. Just like most any Western company doing big business in China these days.

LOL! Yeah, and in this respect, the Chinese government is much more honest and open than the corporations it does business with.

The whole point is if Cisco accuses the Chinese government of abuse the CCP will end them. They are a communist regime. They can kick anyone out, jail them, etc for blinking too many times. Cisco chose this path and they can go with the flow or completely pull out of China altogether. Considering how fast China is expanding that could cripple Cisco's business as well.

Everywhere is a tax haven? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37207464)

"under the legal theory that it aided and abetted China's violation of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991." The country you are referring to is in Asia. The law you are referring to was enacted in a country in North America. It is easy to see how you had the two continents confused, what with them both containing a word starting with the letter A, but nevertheless they are not the same, nor if they were would it mean that one country on that continent was required to implement all laws enacted by all of their neighbours (and neighbours' neighbours etc).

Don't get me wrong, torture is deplorable even if there is some case that can be conceivably be made for its legitimacy of purpose (prisoner X may/probably/definitely have/has knowledge of where bomb Y is about to go off, hence we should get what information we can out of him/her/it by any means necessary), but saying company Z is evil because they helped government C take actions that if taken in country A (not next door, not even close) would have been against the law is pretty out there. Stick with the fact that China took actions considered pretty fucked up by the vast majority of the rest of the world as shown by the existence of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (myself well and truly included) and I would agree with you. You don't need the whole "China is evil because they broke US law, and by extension so are the company that helped them" bollocks to round out the story.

Unless we are planning to globalize all existing laws - which is going to make switzerland and bermuda look significantly less attractive to big business as places to be (nominally) headquartered.

Re:Everywhere is a tax haven? (2)

black soap (2201626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37210236)

Unless we are planning to globalize all existing laws - which is going to make switzerland and bermuda look significantly less attractive to big business as places to be (nominally) headquartered.

It is illegal for an american company to pay bribes to government officials in any country. Is this an example of creeping globalism, too? Can US companies engage in slave trade, as long as they don't take any slaves into USA?

They should have classes (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37207760)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation should offer university level classes for people interested in issues surrounding internet and information freedoms... ...just so they could sell EFF U sweatshirts.

Re:They should have classes (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37208124)

+1 funny.

I'd like one of those!

Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37209206)

Cisco's worry is not the pesky EFF. Their reward for years of collaboration with the PRC in terms of suppressing free speech and outsourcing jobs to an authoritarian capitalistic country is Huawei. The same can probably be said for most companies that invest in China. The CCP is not stupid and fairly nationalistic. Western countries are convenience stepping stones for greater Chinese glory. . .

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37211032)

Does anyone on here believe Cisco cares about privacy?
Certainly not when profit comes up against customer privacy.

Cisco sold out to the PRC years ago and needs them more than the PRC needs Cisco.
This is why they are relativly tolerant of the rampant Chinese piracy of both its hardware and software.

That ship has already sailed (2)

Hizonner (38491) | more than 2 years ago | (#37211406)

Cisco makes gear to let governments spy on their citizens. Every major network equipment manufacturer makes it. All of them. Every major network operator buys it. Practically every government requires it if you're going to build a public network. They sell it, and, yeah, that means they support it, in every sense of the word.

It's called "Lawful Intercept" by its friends, and "sleazy narcing" by its enemies.

It's an idea pioneered right in the U S of A. CALEA, Baby.

Sometimes it's used for Good(TM) and sometimes it's used for Evil(TM). No government is immune to the Evil. The US government, specifically, is almost certainly abusing it, and even if it's not, the EFF sure thinks it is.

Even if it's not being abused in the sense of illegal use, it's being used heavily to enforce laws the EFF and its main backers don't agree with.

So why isn't the EFF coming down on Cisco for selling such equipment in the US? It's not like the EFF believes the US is pure. Nor any of the many other major governments.

The fact is that all the network gear makers sold out ages ago, back when this whole spying thing first came up in the US. The precedent is set, the principle is established. There's no going back. Governments get what they want on the Net, period. US, China, North Korea, whoever.

At this point, it's self help. Encrypt your data, use relays, use steganography, whatever. But it's way too late to try to fix the equipment makers. The EFF is just grandstanding.

I could live with Cisco closing its doors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37216780)

The Chinese government has made Cisco afraid it won't have access to a huge market. The only thing worse than not being able to compete in a major market is having to close up shop. A big company like Cisco being killed off would show corporations they can get bitten for getting in bed with governments. I think I'd be OK with no Cisco in the world if it sends a message to corporations to stay as far away from totalitarian regimes as their lawyers can keep them.

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