Judge dismisses Kaspersky lawsuits about US government software ban

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Kaspersky has had something of a tough time of it over the last year, first being hit by a ban on its software being used by the US government, and then a ban on advertising on Twitter. The Russian company sued the Trump administration over the software ban, and a judge has now dismissed the suits.

Kaspersky Lab had been looking to overturn the governmental ban, saying "we've done nothing wrong" in response to claims that the company is linked to the Russian government. The firm says it plans to appeal against the latest ruling.

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The Russian security firm filed two lawsuits seeking to fight the September 2017 Binding Operative Directive (BOD 17-01) and the Congressional National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which ban its software from US government systems. In Washington DC, US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said that Kaspersky had failed to demonstrate that Congress had acted unconstitutionally.

The company had argued that the NDAA and BOD 17-01 failed to offer the protection of a judicial trial, in violation of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

In her ruling, Judge Kollar-Kotelly said:

The NDAA does not inflict "punishment" on Kaspersky Lab. It eliminates a perceived risk to the nation's cybersecurity and, in so doing, has the secondary effect of foreclosing one small source of revenue for a large multinational corporation.

She conceded that:

These defensive actions may well have had adverse consequences for some third parties, but that does not make them unconstitutional.

In a statement about the ruling, Kaspersky voiced its disappointed and indicated its intention to appeal:

Kaspersky Lab is disappointed with the Court's decisions on its constitutional challenges to the U.S. Government prohibitions on the use of its products and services by federal agencies. We will vigorously pursue our appeal rights. Kaspersky Lab maintains that these actions were the product of unconstitutional agency and legislative processes and unfairly targeted the company without any meaningful fact finding. Given the lack of evidence of wrongdoing by the company and the imputation of malicious cyber activity by nation-states to a private company, these decisions have broad implications for the global technology community. Policy prohibiting the U.S. Government's use of Kaspersky Lab products and services actually undermines the government's expressed goal of protecting federal systems from the most serious cyber threats.

We are fully transparent regarding our methods of work and through our Global Transparency Initiative, we invite concerned parties to review our various code bases, how we will create software updates and detection rules, and how we will process customer data from North America and Europe, all verified by an independent third party.

Kaspersky Lab strongly believes that open dialogue and cooperation can help all the parties to move forward and find the best ways to strengthen national and global cybersecurity policy and best practices. We believe that our expertise and threat intelligence makes the cyber world a safer place as we detect and neutralize all forms of advanced persistent threats (APTs), regardless of their origin or purpose

Image credit: Faiz Zaki / Shutterstock

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