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Cisco And Censorship

August 1, 2005

A letter showed up in the Washington Post today, written by Cisco SVP of Corporate Development, Dan Scheinman, refuting the belief by many that the Chinese governement uses Cisco technology to filter what its citizens can read on the Internet, and keeping surveillance on those who do access "subversive material." The letter is in response to a Washington Post article "Let a Thousand Filters Bloom," by Anne Applebaum. The original article may be viewed at

The text of the letter is below.


For The Benefit Of All

In "Let a Thousand Filters Bloom" [op-ed, July 20] Anne Applebaum repeated a tale that implies that Cisco Systems Inc. knowingly is helping China's Internet filtering regime with a high-tech surveillance system. That is false. Cisco has never participated in censorship of information by foreign governments.

The products available to Chinese police forces are identical to those we sell to police forces at home and around the world in full compliance with U.S. laws. The equipment is used to improve communications and productivity of common law enforcement activities in China. Its capabilities were advertised in full public view at the Chinese equivalent of the annual U.S. convention of police chiefs.

I can't predict how how history will judge the expanding role of technology, but I believe that providing more access to more information will have a beneficial effect on individuals and society -- whomever we're talking about and wherever they live.


Senior Vice President, Corporate Development

Cisco Systems Inc.

San Jose

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