Cisco sued for helping China build Great Firewall

By the Associated Press | May 23, 2011 | 12:27 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have filed a lawsuit against Cisco Systems and its top executives, including Chief Executive John Chambers, accusing the company of supplying the Chinese government with computer networking equipment used to spy on dissidents and censor the Internet.

In a lawsuit filed last week in federal district court for the Northern District of California, a group of Falun Gong practitioners alleges that Cisco aided and abetted human rights violations by the Chinese government in providing networking gear and technical assistance to build the "Great Firewall of China."

Officially called the "Golden Shield Project," the Great Firewall is an elaborate system of Internet controls used by the Chinese government to track the online behavior of its citizens and filter out content it does not like.