NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Judge Upholds U.S. Ban on Russian Cyber Security Software

A Washington, D.C., court has dismissed two lawsuits filed by the Moscow-based computer security company Kaspersky Lab that sought to overturn a U.S. ban on Kaspersky software within U.S.  government networks. In a written ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly upheld a law requiring federal agencies to identify and purge Kaspersky code from U.S. networks by Oct. 1 of this year. The judge also rejected Kaspersky’s argument that the Department of Homeland Security exceeded its authority in ordering a similar ban last September. “The United States government’s networks and computer systems are extremely important strategic national assets,” wrote Kollar-Kotelly in a 55-page opinion. “Threats to these systems are constantly expanding and evolving. Their security depends on the government’s ability to act swiftly against perceived threats and to take preventive action to minimize vulnerabilities.” “These defensive actions may very well have adverse consequences for some third-parties,” the judge continued. “But that does not make them unconstitutional.” Both bans were enacted in response to long-simmering concerns over Kaspersky Lab’s links to Russia’s intelligence community, and fears that the company could be compelled under Russian law to weaponize their code to spy on U.S. government networks.