Computer networking giant Cisco may be helping the Chinese regime keep an eye on its citizens—including monitoring political dissidents.
Over the next two to three years, the city of Chongqing will install a complex network of surveillance equipment, including half a million security cameras. The project is dubbed “Peaceful Chongqing.” According to the Wall Street Journal, Cisco is likely to provide key pieces of equipment.
Human rights groups are concerned the camera network will be used to further stifle human rights and political expression. Amnesty International researcher Corinna-Barbara Francis told the Journal that there is evidence Chinese authorities use video surveillance to, (quote) “crack down and then criminalize activity which should not be criminalized.”
Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler stated in a June blog post that they do not supply the CCP with equipment that has been “customized in any way” to suppress human rights.
After the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, a U.S. law barred companies from exporting crime control products, like fingerprinting equipment, to China. But the restrictions don’t cover equipment with multiple uses, like security cameras.