Lawsuits Brought by Kaspersky Dismissed by Federal Judge

A federal judge has dismissed two lawsuits brought by Russian anti-virus software firm Kaspersky, leaving a government-wide ban on its products in place.

Kaspersky filed the lawsuits after DHS directed federal agencies to start removing the company’s software from systems in October, and then the National Defense Authorization Act banned civil and military agencies as well as federal contractors from using Kaspersky products.

Dismissing the lawsuits, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly agreed that the bans “may very well have adverse consequences,” but “that does not make them unconstitutional.”

Kaspersky responded with a statement saying it was “disappointed with the court’s decisions” and will “vigorously pursue our appeal rights.”

The company also said it “maintains that these actions were the product of unconstitutional agency and legislative processes and unfairly targeted the company without any meaningful fact-finding.”

Both bans were introduced because of concern that the software could be used as a hacking tool by Russian intelligence services, and that Russian laws could aid the Kremlin and Kaspersky in data theft.

Kaspersky has always vehemently denied any connections to the Kremlin or the Russian government, and argued that the bans were unlawful because the firm had been unfairly singled out with no just cause.

Koller-Kotelly disagreed with that argument, saying that as far as the NDAA ban was concerned “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 said.

She declined to comment on the DHS ban but said that as Kaspersky software would soon be legislatively banned there was no benefit in challenging it.

DHS said it was pleased with the decision. Chris Krebs, the department’s top cyber official, said in a statement that DHS  “will continue to do everything in our power, working with federal agencies, to safeguard the government’s information systems and networks.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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