Home Government Tech Policy Dutch Govt joins US in banning Kaspersky software
The Dutch Government is the second to ban Kaspersky software from the public service. The Dutch Government is the second to ban Kaspersky software from the public service. Pixabay

The Netherlands has joined the US in deciding to ban the use of anti-virus software from Kaspersky Lab in the country's public service.

In a letter sent to the parliament, Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus put the decision down to the fact that Russia had an “offensive cyber programme that targets among others the Netherlands and Dutch interests”, Reuters reported.

The measure was said to have been taken "as a precautionary measure".

Grapperhaus also said that as a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab was obliged to follow Russian laws that may make it compulsory to co-operate with the Kremlin.

The US banned the use of Kaspersky's software in the public service in September last year. The UK's National Cyber Security Centre has advised agencies and organisations against using the software.

Grapperhaus said: “The (Dutch) cabinet has carried out an independent review and analysis and made a careful decision on that basis.

“Although there are no concrete cases of misuse known in the Netherlands, it cannot be excluded.”

He added that consideration would be given to reversing the decision “if circumstances justify”.

Contacted for comment, a Kasperksy Lab spokesperson told iTWire the company was very disappointed with "this decision by the Dutch Government based on theoretical concerns, especially given that today's announcement from Kaspersky Lab of a new Transparency Centre in Switzerland is designed precisely to address any fears that people or organisations may have.

"We will contact the Dutch National Co-ordinator for Security and Counter-terrorism (NCTV) shortly to arrange a meeting to overcome the ban after today's announcement of the Transparency Centre.

"Our new centre in Switzerland will strengthen the proven integrity of Kaspersky Lab's products, significantly improve the resilience of our IT infrastructure to any trust risk - even theoretical ones, and increase our transparency to current and future customers, as well as the general public.

"The Global Transparency Initiative reflects Kaspersky Lab's ongoing commitment to assuring the integrity and trustworthiness of its products. Trust is essential in cyber security and Kaspersky Lab understands that trust is not a given; it must be repeatedly earned through transparency and accountability. Kaspersky Lab remains willing to answer any questions about the business, its leadership, expertise, technologies and methodology.

"But yet again, Kaspersky Lab is caught up in a geopolitical fight and still no credible evidence of wrong-doing has been publicly presented by anyone or any organisation to justify such decisions. Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyber espionage or offensive cyber efforts, and it's disconcerting that a private company can be treated as guilty merely due to geopolitical issues."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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