I agree that the companies should consider how their technology will be used. If Cisco thinks it is likely that what they sell is going to be used in a bad way, then they should not sell it to China, even if it will make them a lot of money. The article says that there is an American law that makes it a crime to sell law enforcement equipment, like finger print machines, to China. This is because China has already shown to be a country that will use brutal and deadly force against its own citizens.
Cisco should be able to reasonably assume that China will continue to use whatever technology it can, to monitor its citizens and take their privacy and rights away from them. Cisco should not sell this technology to them. Even though it may be technically legal, it is the same thing as the finger printing machine as far as the result. It is possibly even worse, as the video technology will allow monitoring of thousands of people and the finger printing only affects one person at a time.
There are statements by Chinese dissidents who have committed no crime other than to seek rights for citizens in China. These dissidents say that this type of monitoring was used against them. The organization, Amnesty International, has also documented this use:
Corinna-Barbara Francis, a researcher at Amnesty International, said surveillance footage has been used to identify and apprehend peaceful protesters in China,including in Xinjiang and Tibet. “In China there’s ample evidence that they use” video surveillance “to crack down and then criminalize activity which should not be criminalized,” Ms. Francis said.
Some members of the US Congress agree:
“The business community is only hearing what it wants to hear and disregarding the rest,” said Rep. Frank Wolf, aVirginia Republican who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a nonpartisan rights group made up of members of Congress.
In this article, the executives at the American companies try to sound like they care about the rights of Chinese citizens and how the Chinese government will use the technology, but actions say more that the company manager’s words. Talking about environmental uses and saying “Cisco consults with governments around the world to use
technology to tackle civic problems such as transportation, healthcare and education,” are just words to make their actions not look so bad. They know what governments protect human rights and which do not. They should not sell to those who do not.
What do you think? Let me know by commenting! Thanks for reading!