Cisco denies selling spy system to China

May 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 23 (UPI) -- A lawsuit filed in California accuses Cisco Systems Inc. of selling China a "censorship and surveillance" network to spy on members of a spiritual movement.

The suit was filed last week in federal court in San Jose by Human Rights Law Foundation of Washington and other attorneys on behalf of members of the Falun Gong living in China and the United States.

Falun Gong is a practice begun in 1992 whose followers use Buddhism and Taoist meditative breathing techniques to achieve stillness and focus.

The lawsuit alleges Cisco designed and built a customized "censorship and surveillance" network known as the "Golden Shield," enabling Chinese security personnel to track dissidents and banned groups, including Falun Gong, on the Internet, "for the specific purpose of subjecting them to gross human rights abuses" including torture and "extrajudicial killing."

Cisco said it doesn't operate any networks in China, "nor does Cisco customize our products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression."

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