Networking giant Cisco has expressed its dismay at the actions of US intelligence officials, after images appeared to show agents tampering with Cisco kit as it left the country.
Extracts from journalist Glenn Greenwald’s new book included the photos, which caused a stir earlier this week, as it was alleged the National Security Agency was putting backdoors in routers and servers before they were shipped out of the US.
“This week a number of media outlets reported another serious allegation: that the National Security Agency took steps to compromise IT products enroute to customers, including Cisco products,” said Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel and secretary for the networking giant, in a blog post.
“We comply with US laws, like those of many other countries, which limit exports to certain customers and destinations; we ought to be able to count on the government to then not interfere with the lawful delivery of our products in the form in which we have manufactured them.
“To do otherwise, and to violate legitimate privacy rights of individuals and institutions around the world, undermines confidence in our industry.”
Cisco said governments should not interfere with lawful deliveries of internet infrastructure ordered by customers. It also fretted over the impact on the open Internet as a result of the NSA’s actions.
“A failure to establish a clear and transparent set of rules will produce a fragmented Internet, limiting free speech and global economic growth.
“A serious effort to address these issues can build confidence, and most importantly, result in the promise of the next generation of the Internet being met, a world in which the connection of people and devices drives greater freedom, prosperity and opportunity for all the world’s citizens.”
Last year, Cisco partly blamed the Edward Snowden revelations for a dip in revenue, saying they had damaged trust in US companies.
It has continued to see revenue decline, as reported this week in the company results.
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