Cisco is expected to play a key role in delivering a 500,000 camera surveillance project in China, dubbed by local officials “Peaceful Qongqing”.
The networking giant was close to finalising a contract for its involvement in the project, after being brought in by the lead contractor Hikvision Digital Technology, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The area of surveillance will cover over 1,000 square kilometres of the province in China's south west, roughly equivalent to a quarter of Sydney.
While American vendors are forbidden from exporting “crime control or detection” equipment to China, there was nothing stopping them from selling other equipment that might support it.
US technology vendors were prevented from exporting such equipment to China after the 1991 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protestors.
Similar rules were applied to exports to Indonesia and Rwanda.
Cisco executives have stressed that the vendor had not sold cameras or surveillance kit in any of its Chinese infrastructure projects, according to the report.
Earlier this month Cisco was accused by members of the Chinese religious group, Falun Gong, of customising its equipment to track dissidents and intercept communications.
“We have never customised our equipment to help the Chinese government—or any government—censor content, track Internet use by individuals or intercept Internet communications,” Cisco general counsel, Mark Chandler wrote in a lengthy denial.
HP had also reportedly made a bid to supply the network’s server and storage requirements, however its senior executives offered a less cautious response to ethical questions.
"It's not my job to really understand what they're going to use it for. Our job is to respond to the bid that they've made," Todd Bradley, head of HP’s personal systems group told WSJ in an earlier interview.