Kaspersky Lab Inc. on Monday opened a new front in its bid to undo a governmentwide ban on the company’s anti-virus software, suing in Washington federal district court to challenge a law that bolstered an order for federal agencies to stop using the Moscow-based firm’s products.
The new lawsuit comes a month after Kaspersky targeted the ban ordered by the Department of Homeland Security, which cited concerns about ties between the company’s officials and Russian intelligence. Kaspersky, in its new suit, took aim at the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018 and its language blocking agencies from using “any hardware, software, or services” from the company.
Kaspersky, represented in both suits by Baker McKenzie, is asking a judge to declare the law’s software ban to be unconstitutional because it unfairly singles out the company as a “target for legislative punishment.”
The software ban, Kaspersky’s lawyers argued, was “introduced and adopted hastily by Congress in the context of mounting animosity towards Russia and substantial political pressure on all branches of government to be seen as reacting to the apparent Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.”
“However, Congress’s action against [Kaspersky] through the NDAA is based solely on vague and inflammatory allegations directed at [Kaspersky] unsubstantiated by any legislative factfinding,” wrote Baker McKenzie partner Ryan Fayhee. “These sections of the NDAA singularly and unfairly name and punish Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s leading antivirus software companies, by prohibiting the federal government from using any Kaspersky Lab products or services and permanently depriving Kaspersky Lab of any direct or indirect federal government business.”
Kaspersky has denied having any ties to Russian intelligence. In its filing Monday, the company said it has never been convicted of a crime or been subject to an adverse judicial finding.
“Nor is there any compelling reason to even suspect the company of a crime,” Fayhee wrote. “In fact, Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) officials testifying before Congress have expressly stated that there is no conclusive evidence that Kaspersky Lab has ever facilitated a breach of government information systems.”
Kaspersky’s request for a preliminary injunction blocking the DHS directive is pending before Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The company filed a brief supporting the preliminary injunction request on Monday.
Kollar-Kotelly acknowledged Kaspersky’s new lawsuit Monday and indicated that it would delay her decision on the company’s preliminary injunction request.
The new complaint is posted below: