The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading digital rights advocate, has come out in support of a lawsuit against Cisco by practitioners of Falun Gong.
In 2011, Cisco was sued for helping the Chinese government track down Falun Gong practitioners in China, some of whom were subsequently tortured death, the lawsuit alleges.
The Chinese government banned Falun Gong in 1999 after the spiritual practice became widespread and threatened to rival the Communist Party in terms of social importance in China.
The allegations against Cisco is that it helped the Chinese create a “library that cataloged Falun Gong internet activity; centralized log/alert databases that allow real-time monitoring of Falun Gong [internet] traffic; integration of these databases with China’s surveillance system used for “general law enforcement purposes”; systems for storing data profiles on Falun Gong members for use during interrogation and “forced conversion” (torture) from Falun Gong religious belief; and advanced video analyzers for recognizing over 90 percent of Falun Gong pictorial information, among other systems.” (Motherboard.vice.com)
The Chinese government has allegedly tortured thousands of Falun Gong adherents to death and is currently being accused of live organ harvesting from tens of thousands more.
Torture is illegal according to international law. The Alien Torts Statute allows foreigners to make claims in United States court in cases of violations of international law.
The lawsuit is also bringing charges under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which allows for the filling of lawsuits in the U.S. against anyone who may have committed torture in a foreign country.