Public policy and political support

The following is an excerpt from the 2019 CSR report.

Cisco’s Government Affairs team develops and advocates for pro-technology policies and regulations. We engage with governments at all levels, focusing on public policies that impact Cisco, our partners, and our customers. The team comprises former elected and appointed public officials, as well as government affairs experts.

Learn more about this team on our Government Affairs website and about our policy priorities on our High Tech Policy blog. Current policy priorities include:

  • Advancing smart cybersecurity policies. Strong risk-management policies are foundational to secure connections. As threats evolve, 21st-century policies are essential to protect innovation and economic growth.
  • Protecting free trade. Cisco supports policies that open markets for technology products and services, lower prices, increase choice, and promote innovation. Trade agreements make this possible.
  • Investing in people and knowledge. Reforming the U.S. immigration system will enable businesses to better compete on a global stage. We support immigration policies that create a highly skilled workforce.
  • Building next-gen wireless networks. As consumer demand for data increases, networks must keep up. We encourage governments to make radio spectrum available for growth and new technology.
  • Preserving an open Internet. Cisco has always supported an open Internet. Regulations that incentivize network investment are essential.
  • Protecting innovation. We need a strong, balanced patent system to foster innovation and reduce incentives for harmful litigation.
  • Promoting investment. National tax policies should encourage job creation and incentivize innovation. Policies must also be consistent with existing global approaches.
  • Securely connecting the future. Emerging technologies like machine learning and AI can protect against cyberattacks. We can harness these technologies for positive impact.

Political support

Cisco does not make corporate contributions to candidates for elected office, political parties, or election committees in the United States. We occasionally make contributions in support of local and state ballot measures that affect our business. We disclose these contributions quarterly. Our Government Affairs team and the Board of Directors’ Nomination and Governance Committee regularly review contributions.

Cisco’s Position on Government Use of Technology to Curtail Freedom of Expression

At Cisco, we are strongly committed to an open global Internet. We build our products to promote the free flow of information, privacy, and freedom of expression. Our principles include:

  • We sell the same products globally, built to global standards, thereby enhancing the free flow of information.
  • Our networking products include basic features that are essential to allowing operators to defend against threats which could undermine the operation of the Internet and information security, recognizing that some governments may seek to use those features to interfere with the free flow of information.
  • We strongly support the right of users to encrypt information they transmit and oppose governmental efforts to undermine encryption.
  • We do not customize or develop specialized or unique filtering capabilities in order to enable different regimes to block access to information with the intent of undermining these rights and freedoms.
  • We comply with laws that restrict sale of products to certain regimes based on the possibility that products and features could be misused to undermine human rights.

We are not in a position to determine how governments and others may use our products’ features day to day, and so we take these additional steps to promote these principles:

  • We do not support attempts by governments to fragment the Internet or otherwise create a “closed” Internet.
  • We do not support interception of telephone calls made over the Internet using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) except in response to valid court orders consistent with due process of law.
  • Consistent with Cisco’s Security Vulnerability Policy, our product development practices specifically prohibit any intentional behaviors or product features that are designed to allow unauthorized device or network access, exposure of sensitive device information, or a bypass of security features or restrictions (including, but not limited to, undisclosed device access methods or “backdoors”).

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