Current Cases

 

Doe v. Cisco Systems, Inc.

Detailed Case Summary and Documents

Doe v. Cisco Systems, Inc. is a case currently being litigated in the Northern District of California against Cisco Systems, Inc., a major American network technology corporation. Falun Gong believers filed the case based on their subjection to serious human rights abuses in China through the use of the “Golden Shield” and especially its anti-Falun Gong systems. The Golden Shield is an unprecedented network security system used for the widespread censorship, surveillance, identification, tracking, apprehension, and torture of Chinese dissidents. Cisco has been the major provider of network security “solutions” in China since the late 1990’s.

In the mid to late 1990s, Communist Party and officials of China’s Ministry of Public Security proposed a “Golden Shield” project to include technological capabilities of China’s security forces in order to ordinary criminal conduct. At the same time, The Chinese Communist Party desired to upgrade the technological capabilities of Chinese security to single our various dissident groups for persecution, including Falun Gong, then well known as its “number one” enemy. The design of the Golden Shield, prepared by Cisco in San Jose, reflects these goals in two major platforms: the “Targeting Criminal Activities Platform” that covers all systems intended for ordinary criminal justice activity; and the “Maintenance of Social Stability Platform” that includes a subsystem for Tibetans, Uyghurs, democracy activities and human rights lawyers, et cetera. Most prominent among these systems are the anti-Falun Gong systems.

Plaintiffs allege that the anti-Falun Gong systems designed, serviced and implemented by Cisco were used by Chinese security and Communist Party officers to wrongfully detain, torture and harm them to force them to relinquish their practice of their religion in China. They further allege that these crimes could not have occurred without the design of the Golden Shield by Cisco and the assistance Cisco provided through its services, upgrades and implementation.

Complaints that Cisco is complicit in these abuses have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears, and Cisco continues to work with Chinese security officials to this day. Litigation under the Alien Tort Statute is one of the few remaining tools to ensure Cisco is held accountable for its conduct.

Appeal

After briefings and a March 21, 2014 hearing, the district court granted the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss on September 5, 2014. On October 3, 2014, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Reconsideration (MFR). Following briefings, on August 31, 2015, the district court denied Plaintiffs MFR. Plaintiffs filed Notice of Appeal on []. On January 4, 2015, Plaintiffs-Appellants filed their Opening Brief and an Excerpted Record (ER). On January 11, 2015, amicus curiae briefs were filed by Ambassador David Scheffer, the Electronic Frontier, Earthrights and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

For more information, contact the Human Rights Law Foundation at ‪‪(202) 697-3858‬‬.‬‬

Documents

Background

Huffington Post by Katrina Lantos

‘The Hijacked Potential of China’s Internet’ by He Qinglian (PDF format)

‘China’s Golden Shield: Corporations and the Development of Surveillance Technology’ by Greg Walton (PDF Format)

‘Helping Big Brother Go High Tech’ from Business Week

‘The Net Effect’ by Steven Cherry

‘Cool Tools for Tyrants’ by Derek Bambauer

‘China: E-Repression leads to dramatic rise in those imprisoned for expressing opinions online’ from Amnesty International

‘The Connection Has Been Reset’ by James Fallows

© Human Rights Law Foundation 2010-2017
DISCLAIMER: The information on this Web site is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice and assistance from your lawyer. We recommend that you discuss your plans with your lawyer before proceeding with resolution of a legal matter.