At least five major companies offering information security products will not submit bids to the Pakistani government, which has been openly seeking an internet censor since February.
San Diego-based Websense was one of the first to openly reject the offer, announcing in a March 2nd statement: “Websense will not submit a response to this request for proposal (RFP), and we call on other technology providers to also do the right thing for the citizens of Pakistan and refuse to submit a proposal for this contract.” McAfee, Inc. became one of the latest technological providers opting not to bid on the controversial contract. The company announced its position via tweet on Monday:
Update for our followers: McAfee has confirmed that it is not pursuing the Pakistan Firewall RFP.
Free speech advocacy groups like the Electronic Freedom Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Electronic Freedom Foundation are backing a Pakistani rights group, Bolo Bhi, in a campaign against the government’s request for proposal. The free speech organization, whose name means “Speak Up,” has made a direct appeal to eight internet security companies, asking them not to submit proposals to Pakistan’s government. Moreover, they encourage the companies to make public their rejections of the proposal. The idea is that, while companies considering the proposal might not be so keen to announce their plans, if enough of their competitors openly reject the bill, Pakistan’s potential internet censors will stand out by their silence. Those companies, by consequence, could be the recipients of a lot of negative PR soon.
In addition to Websense and Mcafee, Cisco, Sandvine, and Verizon are among the major companies who have taken a public stance against Pakistan’s proposal.
At present, Blue Coat Systems, Netsweeper, Huawei and ZTE, have remained conspicuously silent about the matter.[Via: NY Times Bits.]