Russia has had pretty strained relations with the U.S ever since Russia was reportedly discovered to have been involved in manipulating U.S elections. This time, the Senate seems to be more cautious and has hence asked for a ban on Kaspersky’s software.
Kaspersky not to be used by the U.S military
Kaspersky, as you may know, is based in Moscow, Russia and sells products concerning security including world-renowned anti-virus software. However, the Senate Armed Services Committee wants a ban on Kaspersky’s products so that the U.S Defense Department cannot use them.
This is because the Senate fears the organization has links with the Russian government and is therefore likely to be influenced by it. They believe that U.S national security could be under threat.
In fact, according to Jeanne Shaheen, the Democratic Senator, Kremlin, and Kaspersky have surprisingly got strong ties and was, therefore, the one to amend the defense bill to include the ban on Kaspersky.
Furthermore, the Congress is of the opinion that using Kaspersky can pose great risks to U.S’ infrastructure regarding computer networks.
SHAHEEN: "Kaspersky Labs cannot be trusted to protect critical infrastructure, particularly computer systems vital to our nation’s security"
— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) June 28, 2017
Investigations by the FBI
The ban was perhaps not a result of random conjecture by U.S officials over the risk of Kaspersky. Rather, before the ban was put into the bill, the FBI undertook an in-depth investigation of the organization.
Particularly, the FBI interviewed a number of Kaspersky employees that were based in the U.S and went to different cities to meet them in person. FBI made it clear that these interviews were not part of an investigation into Russian involvement in the elections.
Rather, they were meant to see whether the organization has any government influence in particular. The company categorized these activities as part of a due diligence act.
It was after this, on Wednesday, that the bill was amended to include the ban on Kaspersky.
What does Kaspersky have to say?
Kaspersky is repeatedly denying any ties with the government and has stated that such allegations are based on no hard evidence. In fact, the CEO of the organization has stated that he will be willing to talk to the Senate and confirm that his organization is not influenced by the Russian government.
He says that in the organization’s 20-year history, the company has not been involved in anything that would compromise ethical behavior as such.
Nevertheless, it is unlikely that such claims will deter the Senate’s strong stance over Kaspersky’s links with the government, especially after 2012, when a number of new hires were inducted to the company having ties with three major Russian intelligence firms.
The Bill will now have to pass through full Senate and the House of Representative and will eventually become law once President Donald Trump approves of it.
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