Wed, Sep 07, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Cisco responds to critic

By Terry Alberstein

On behalf of Cisco Systems, I would like to point out a number of serious factual errors in the article "Beware Cisco's example in China, author warns," (Sept. 1, page 10).

As one of the world's leaders in Internet networking technology, Cisco Systems has played an important role in the growth of the Internet globally and in China.

Ethan Gutmann's claim that Cisco has somehow built a national security database in China for the Chinese Public Security Bureau is factually wrong. Cisco Systems makes networking software and hardware -- we do not build database software.

Gutmann's false allegations are based on his attendance at a public trade show held in Shanghai in 2002. We note that, at that time, Gutmann did not identify himself as a journalist or author, and that he has never called Cisco to seek any information or explanation on Cisco's products or services for his various magazine articles or forthcoming book.

Apparently, he does not consider it important to check his facts before airing such spurious accusations as he promotes his books.

We believe that these claims stem from a fundamental misunderstanding about what networking products do and what they are capable of: The networking hardware and software products that Cisco sells in China are exactly the same as those we sell in every market in the world. And it is our users, not Cisco, that determine the applications that they deploy.

Gutmann claims that Cisco is in violation of the US Foreign Relations Authorization Act. This is not true. The act in question requires export licensing from the US Department of Commerce for specifically designed policing equipment like shotguns, police helmets and handcuffs. Networking products from Cisco and our competitors are not covered by this legislation.

Cisco does sell networking equipment to law enforcement agencies around the world, including China, in compliance with US Department of Commerce regulations. Our products offer benefits through the networking of computing devices that aid in the effectiveness and timeliness of law enforcement.

We also sell our products to many public sector organizations like universities, municipal governments, utilities, etc.

Cisco Systems does not participate in the censorship of information by governments. Moreover, Cisco complies with US government regulations, which prohibit the sale of our products to certain destinations, or to users who misuse our products or resell them to prohibited users.

Terry Alberstein

Cisco Systems, Asia Pacific

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