Kaspersky Lab Inc. is suing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for banning its products from all U.S. government departments in September due to suspicions over its close connection to Russian government entities. The complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday says Kaspersky, under the Administrative Procedure Act, is filing the complaint because their right to due process was violated when the ban under DHS’s “Binding Operational Directive (BOD) 17-01” was implemented.
“Without affording Plaintiffs notice or a prior opportunity to be heard, and without sufficient evidence, Defendants branded Kaspersky Lab’s market-leading anti-virus products an information security ‘threat, vulnerability and risk’ to U.S. Government information systems and summarily ordered their identification, removal, and discontinuation by all subject U.S. government agencies, and the private contractors operating within their IT systems,” the complaint reads.
According to the complaint, BOD 17-01 required all federal agencies to identify all utilized Kaspersky products within a month, devise a plan for removal within 60 days, and begin removal within 90 days.
The complaint says the U.S. government was not justified in its action and had plenty of time to provide due process to Kaspersky Lab.
“While DHS professed to give Plaintiffs an opportunity to contest the BOD and change DHS’s decision before the 90-day mark, by allowing Kaspersky to make a written submission to DHS near in time to the 60-day mark, this process was illusory and wholly inadequate because it failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process,” the complaint read.
Kaspersky’s global headquarters are in Moscow, but the filing says the company operates in “200 countries and territories” and has offices in 31 countries.
In July, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that it had obtained internal e-mails from the company that indicated a close relationship with the FSB, Russia’s main intelligence arm.
“It has developed security technology at the spy agency’s behest and worked on joint projects the CEO knew would be embarrassing if made public,” the story read.
A statement from Kaspersky also reported in the story noted, “When taken out of context, anything can be manipulated.”
In October, The Wall Street Journal reported that hackers identified files on a contractor’s computer through Kaspersky software that contained details of how the United States combats cyberattacks.
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