BOSTON, MA – The human rights and Internet fragmentation resolution led by Boston Common Asset Management received a record level of support from shareholders, according to the preliminary vote announced at the Cisco Systems Annual Stockholders Meeting today in Santa Clara, California. Twenty-nine percent of all shareholders voted against management’s recommendation and supported Boston Common’s proposal with a “For” or “Abstain” vote, according to an announcement made at the meeting. “This is a record vote for a resolution of this nature” said Dawn Wolfe, Social Research Analyst at Boston Common Asset Management. “The fact that well over one-quarter of all Cisco shareholders disagree with the company’s assertion that Internet fragmentation and human rights liabilities do not represent a potential threat to Cisco’s long term global growth is a strong statement,” Wolfe continued.
The proposal, co-filed by four additional investors, asks management to disclose the concrete steps it could reasonably take to reduce fragmentation of the Internet, the suppression of information, or violations of personal privacy. Internet fragmentation, or balkanization, occurs when government authorities create extensive firewalls around citizens, severely restrict the flow of information, conduct pervasive surveillance of electronic communication users, and ultimately slow the growth of people accessing the Internet. Boston Common began formal engagement with Cisco in January 2005 over the human rights and long term financial impacts of selling powerful networking technology to repressive governments.