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5/31/2018
11:04 AM
Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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Judge Tosses Kaspersky Lab Suits Against US Government Ban

A US judge dismisses two lawsuits filed by Kaspersky Lab, which argued the US government ban on its products was unconstitutional and caused undue harm.

The US government ban on Kaspersky Lab software in federal agencies will remain in place following a judge's decision to dismiss two lawsuits in which the Moscow-based security firm argued the ban was both unconstitutional and caused undue harm.

In September 2017, the US Department of Homeland Security filed Binding Operational Directive 17-01 to ban the use of Kaspersky Lab security products on federal agency systems. The ban stemmed from concerns about ties between Kaspersky Lab and Russian intelligence agencies. A separate bill called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed by Congress and approved by President Trump, also banned Kaspersky products for federal use.

Kaspersky fought back against both with a December 2017 lawsuit in which it demanded the court reverse its decision, arguing it had not been given a fair opportunity and the DHS had not provided technical evidence to validate its actions. In January, it filed a motion for a preliminary injection in the lawsuit, claiming the ban had caused damage to its reputation and revenue.

US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has rejected Kaspersky's argument stating the ban was unconstitutional. The decision is necessary, she says, for US government security and while the government's defensive actions may have "adverse consequences" for some third parties, they're not necessarily unconstitutional.

"The NDAA does not inflict 'punishment' on Kaspersky Lab," she says in a memorandum published on CyberScoop. "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."

Following the court's decision, Kaspersky issued a statement to express its disappointment and maintain the government's actions were both unconstitutional and unfair. It plans to pursue its rights to appeal.

"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 broader technology community," the company states.

The ban will come into effect on October 1. Read more details here.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

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