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Kaspersky Lab asks court to overturn US government ban

The Moscow-based software company says a Trump administration ban on the use of its products deprived it of due process.

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Eugene Kaspersky, founder and head of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, says his company was deprived of adequate due process by a Trump administration ban on US government use of its products.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Kaspersky Lab said Monday it has asked a US federal court to overturn a Trump administration ban on US government use of the Moscow-based cybersecurity company's software, saying the move deprived the company of adequate due process.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a directive in September ordering federal agencies to remove Kaspersky Lab products from government computers within 90 days. The ban came amid concerns the company's products might be vulnerable to Russian government influence.

"DHS has harmed Kaspersky Lab's reputation and its commercial operations without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company," Kaspersky founder Eugene Kaspersky wrote in an open letter to Homeland Security published on Monday.

Cybersecurity concerns have mounted in the wake of email leaks during the 2016 presidential election campaign and reports of Russian online meddling, as well as breaches at government agencies and in the business world.

In enacting the ban, the DHS said it was concerned about alleged ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies. The department also said Russian law allows Russian intelligence agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept communications on Russian networks.

Kaspersky has repeatedly rejected the allegations, saying it doesn't have inappropriate ties with any government. But following the US government ban, retailers like Best Buy, Office Depot and Staples removed Kaspersky's software from their shelves.

The company alleges the US government relied primarily on rumors and uncorroborated news media reports as evidence in making its decision to ban the software. It's asking the court to overturn the ban and declare the company's products do not pose a security threat.

It wasn't immediately clear what effect overturning the ban would have after President Donald Trump last week signed into law a sweeping defense policy spending bill that reinforces the Homeland Security prohibition on US government use of Kaspersky software.

The Department of Homeland Security referred requests for comment to the Justice Department, which declined to comment, citing policy regarding ongoing cases.

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