KASPERSKY LAB, INC. et al v. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY et al
COMPLAINT against DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, KIRSTJEN M. NIELSEN ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 0090-5252580) filed by KASPERSKY LAB, INC., KASPERSKY LABS LIMITED. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons Department of Homeland Security, # 3 Summons Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of DHS, # 4 Summons US Attorney General, # 5 Summons US Attorney for the District of Columbia)(Chasin, Steven) (Attachment 1 replaced on 12/20/2017) (sth).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
KASPERSKY LAB, INC.
500 Unicorn Park, 3rd Floor
Woburn, Massachusetts 01801; and
KASPERSKY LABS LIMITED
New Bridge Street House
30-34 New Bridge Street
London, EC4V 6BJ
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Washington, D.C. 20528; and
Kirstjen Nielsen, in her official capacity as
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Civil Action No. ___________
Kaspersky Lab, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation, together with its U.K. parent
company Kaspersky Labs Limited (“Plaintiffs” or “Kaspersky Lab”), bring this action under the
Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) to uphold their constitutional due process and other
rights which Defendants violated through unprecedented, sweeping, and retroactive debarment of
Kaspersky Lab from U.S. Government information systems by way of the Department of
Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Binding Operational Directive 17-01 issued on September 13,
2017 (the “BOD”).
Without affording Plaintiffs notice or a prior opportunity to be heard, and without
sufficient evidence, Defendants branded Kaspersky Lab’s market-leading anti-virus products an
information security “threat, vulnerability and risk” to U.S. Government information systems and
summarily ordered their identification, removal, and discontinuation by all subject U.S.
government agencies, and the private contractors operating within their IT systems.
DHS was required under the APA and the U.S. Constitution to afford Plaintiffs
due process—at the very least notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard—before
debarring Plaintiffs and depriving them of their liberty interest.
Defendants never claimed—and nothing in the record suggests—any justification
for denying Plaintiffs the basic right to notice and an opportunity to contest Defendants’
“evidence” (in substantial part consisting of uncorroborated news articles) before the debarment.
In particular, DHS has never claimed, and nothing in the records suggests, that the “information
security risks” allegedly presented by Plaintiffs’ products were so imminent, so exigent, or so
urgent, that they would justify depriving Plaintiffs of their constitutional due process rights.
Defendants had ample time and opportunity to afford Plaintiffs the due process to
which they were entitled prior to the issuance of the BOD, and actively misled Plaintiffs
regarding the status of their pre-BOD deliberations. Plaintiffs wrote in good faith to Defendants
in July 2017 to offer to discuss and respond to any concerns that Defendants might have
regarding Kaspersky Lab products. Defendants replied in August 2017, indicating that they
“appreciate[d] [Plaintiffs’] offer to provide information” and would “be in touch again shortly.”
Instead, Defendants proceeded with issuing the BOD in September, without any prior notice to
Plaintiffs or any opportunity for them to be heard.
DHS issued the BOD pursuant to the Federal Information Security Modernization
Act of 2014, 44 U.S.C. § 3551 et seq. (2014) (“FISMA”), which authorizes DHS to issue binding
operational directives—“compulsory direction to agencies”—“for the purposes of safeguarding
Federal information and information systems from a known or reasonably suspected information
security threat, vulnerability, or risk.” 44 U.S.C.§ 3552(b)(1).
The BOD compelled all federal agencies to: (1) identify Kaspersky Lab-branded
products on all federal informational systems within 30 days, (2) develop a detailed plan to
remove and discontinue the present and future use of all Kaspersky Lab-branded products within
60 days, and (3) unless directed otherwise by DHS based on new information, start actual
removal within 90 days. (BOD at 2-3)
While DHS professed to give Plaintiffs an opportunity to contest the BOD and
change DHS’s decision before the 90-day mark, by allowing Kaspersky to make a written
submission to DHS near in time to the 60-day mark, this process was illusory and wholly
inadequate because it failed to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process.
In actuality, the debarment of Plaintiffs and the damage caused was immediate
and complete upon the issuance of the BOD. The process for identification, removal, and
discontinuation had been initiated immediately upon issuance, all government agencies were
prejudiced against Plaintiffs’ software at that time, and the process could therefore not have been
DHS expressly acknowledged that following its issuance of the BOD, some
“agencies removed the software in advance of the BOD’s requirement to start removal on day
90” without regard to the purported process set forth in the BOD (See Jeannette Manfra,
testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, November 14, 2017).
Following the Final Decision, the Department confirmed that, rather than treating the 90 daymark as the start of the removal process (absent any change to the BOD by Defendants due to
submissions received from Plaintiffs or other affected parties), many agencies had actually
removed the software by that time: “For the most part, we’re closed out on removing the
Kaspersky [antivirus]-branded products.” (See Christopher Krebs press briefing, December 13,
Plaintiffs submitted a detailed written response to the BOD on November 10,
2017 (the “Kaspersky Lab Submission”).
DHS issued a Final Decision on December 6, 2017.
Having already committed themselves, and their subject agencies, to detrimental
action against Plaintiffs, Defendants failed to adequately consider, or respond to, the Kaspersky
Lab Submission. Defendants simply re-asserted the BOD un-amended through the Final
Even in their Final Decision and supporting materials, Defendants continued to
introduce new allegations, facts, and legal arguments to which Plaintiffs have had no opportunity
to respond, even pursuant to the professed (but inadequate) administrative process advanced by
Defendants which concluded with the Final Decision.
Accordingly, Plaintiffs were harmed before any due process was offered at all,
and were never granted any meaningful process by which to challenge the administrative action
in the BOD prior to the debarment. The debarment therefore deprived Kaspersky of a
constitutionally protected liberty interest without due process of law, in violation of the Fifth
Amendment of the Constitution.
The BOD also fails to meet the evidentiary requirements of the APA. Instead of
relying on agency fact-finding, DHS’s principal and overwhelming source of “evidence” is
uncorroborated news reports (some citing anonymous sources)—including the Rachel Maddow
Show, Fox News, Wired Magazine, Bloomberg News, and Forbes.
In an attempt to satisfy the APA’s “substantial evidence” requirement, Defendants
have mis-categorized these articles and other unsubstantiated allegations as “a substantial body
of evidence.” (Final Decision Information Memorandum at 23).
To the contrary, Jeannette Manfra, the DHS author of the Information
Memoranda in support of the BOD and the Final Decision, testified before the House Committee
on Science, Space, and Technology on November 14, 2017, that in fact the Government does not
have conclusive evidence that Kaspersky Lab had facilitated the breach of any U.S. Government
information system. When asked in the same hearing by the Committee Chairman to address
other media reports regarding Plaintiffs, Manfra testified that she could not “make a judgement
based off of press reporting.” Yet that is exactly what she asked DHS’s Acting Secretary to do in
her memoranda in support of the BOD and the Final Decision.
DHS confirmed in its Final Decision that it has no evidence of any such breach or
wrongdoing on the part of Kaspersky Lab in an entire section of the Final Decision’s Information
Memorandum entitled “No Need for Evidence of Wrongdoing.” DHS roundly ignores its
obligation to produce any meaningful and specific evidence against Plaintiffs.
For these reasons, Plaintiffs bring this suit challenging the BOD and the Final
Decision under the APA, as violative of Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment right to due process, and as
arbitrary and capricious and not based on substantial evidence. Plaintiffs seek declaratory relief
that the BOD and Final Decision are invalid, and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to
rescind them and enjoin enforcement.
Plaintiff Kaspersky Lab, Inc. is a Massachusetts corporation with its principal
place of business in Woburn, Massachusetts. Plaintiff Kaspersky Lab, Inc. is a directly whollyowned subsidiary of Plaintiff Kaspersky Labs Limited, a U.K. holding company.
Defendant DHS is the federal agency responsible for issuing and implementing
the BOD and Final Decision at issue in this case.
Defendant Kirstjen Nielsen is the Secretary of DHS and is being sued in her
official capacity only.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
This action arises under the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment of the
Constitution and the APA, 5 U.S.C. §§ 500-596, 701 et seq. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and the APA.
The Court has the authority to grant declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, and its inherent equitable powers.
Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(1).
Kaspersky Lab, Its Reputation in the Industry, and Its Principles of Fighting
Kaspersky Lab is a multinational cybersecurity company exclusively focused on
protecting against cyberthreats, no matter their origin. It is one of the world’s largest privately
owned cybersecurity companies. It operates in 200 countries and territories and maintains 35
offices in 31 countries. Among its offices are research and development centers employing antimalware experts in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Israel, China, Russia, and Latin America.
Although the corporate group’s global headquarters are in Moscow, more than
85% of Kaspersky Lab’s sales are generated outside of Russia. Kaspersky Lab’s presence in
Russia and its deployment in areas of the world in which many sophisticated cyberthreats
originate, makes it a unique and essential partner in the fight against such threats which, in its
absence, may not otherwise be met.
Over 400 million users—from governments to private individuals, commercial
enterprise to critical infrastructure owners and operators alike—utilize Kaspersky Lab
technologies to secure their data and systems.
Kaspersky products have received top ratings for malware detection (among other
performance factors). For example, in 2016, Kaspersky Lab products participated in 78
independent tests & reviews—and the company was awarded 55 first places and 70 top-three
finishes. Kaspersky Lab consistently ranks among the world’s top four vendors of security
solutions for endpoint users.
Kaspersky Lab, Inc. and Sales to the U.S. Government
Founded in 2004, Kaspersky Lab, Inc. is a Massachusetts corporation and is a
directly wholly-owned subsidiary of Kaspersky Labs Limited. Kaspersky Lab, Inc. acts as the
company’s North American headquarters through offices in Woburn, Massachusetts and
employs nearly 300 people in the U.S.
The U.S. has been and remains one of the most significant geographic markets in
Kaspersky Lab’s global business. Sales to customers in the United States represent
approximately one quarter of total global bookings in 2016. Plaintiff Kaspersky Lab, Inc. has
invested over half a billion dollars in its operations over the last twelve years, and over $65
million in 2016 alone.
Active licenses held by federal agencies have a total value (to Plaintiffs) of less
than USD $54,000, which represents a tiny fraction (0.03%) of Plaintiff Kaspersky Lab, Inc.’s
annual sales in the United States.1
Notwithstanding the limited volume of U.S. Government sales, Kaspersky Lab,
Inc. has a substantial interest in its status as a vendor to the U.S. Government, and in its
continued ability to sell its product to the U.S. Government, inclusive of the right to be free of
disparagement prejudicing commercial and enterprise customers.
Without Affording Plaintiffs Notice or Opportunity to Be Heard, DHS Issued an
Immediate and Complete Ban of Kaspersky Lab from all Government Agencies
On September 13, 2017, without affording any notice to Kaspersky Lab or prior
opportunity to rebut the allegations, and despite Plaintiffs’ July 2017 outreach and Defendants’
professed willingness to enter into discussion in August, DHS announced that it had “determined
that the risks presented by Kaspersky-branded products justify the issuance of” Binding
Operational Directive 17-01 (“Removal of Kaspersky-Branded Products”). (BOD at 1). The
BOD, as explained below, effectively banned all U.S. government agencies from using
Kaspersky products and debarred the company immediately. Additionally, it required existing
software instances to be identified and removed. The BOD applied to virtually all products,
solutions, and services supplied, directly or indirectly, by Kaspersky Lab.2 (Id. at 2). In the
accompanying Decision, DHS branded Kaspersky Lab products a threat to U.S. national security,
Based on Plaintiff Kaspersky Lab, Inc.’s 2016 net booking data.
The BOD excepted two specific services, Kaspersky Threat Intelligence and Kaspersky
Security Training. (BOD at 2).
based on the “ability of the Russian government, whether acting on its own or through Kaspersky,
to capitalize on access to federal information and information systems provided by Kasperskybranded products.” (Decision at 2).
DHS issued the BOD pursuant to FISMA, which authorizes DHS to issue binding
operational directives—“compulsory direction to agencies … for the purposes of safeguarding
Federal information and information systems from a known or reasonably suspected information
security threat, vulnerability, or risk.” (Id. at 1, citing 44 U.S.C.§ 3552(b)(1)).
Specifically, DHS claimed that FISMA justified the BOD because “unclassified
evidence”—almost entirely uncorroborated media reports, several citing anonymous sources—
established that “[a]s long as Kaspersky branded products are present on federal information
systems, Kaspersky [Lab] or the Russian government will have the ability to exploit Kaspersky
[Lab]’s access to those information systems for purposes contrary to U.S. national security,
including viewing or exfiltrating sensitive data or installing malicious code on federal systems,
such as through an update to the anti-virus software.” (Decision at 2).
The BOD compelled all federal agencies to: (1) identify the use or presence of
Kaspersky Lab-branded products on all federal informational systems within 30 days, (2)
develop a detailed plan to remove and discontinue present and future use of all Kaspersky Labbranded products within 60 days, and (3) start the actual removal within 90 days, unless directed
otherwise by DHS in light of new information obtained by DHS, including but not limited to
new information submitted by Kaspersky. (the “30-60-90 day structure”) (BOD at 2-3). The 30day identification deadline fell on October 13, 2017, the 60-day removal plan deadline fell on
November 12, 2017, and the 90-day deadline to begin removal fell on December 12, 2017.
The BOD’s Purported Administrative Process
In a separate letter to Plaintiffs accompanying the BOD, DHS claimed to
Plaintiffs that it was providing an “administrative process to inform [DHS] decision making”—a
process to be later set forth in a Federal Register Notice—but as explained below, that process
had no bearing on the debarment already effectuated by the BOD, and was purely perfunctory.
(See DHS Letter to Eugene Kaspersky, dated September 13, 2017).
On September 19, 2017, DHS did indeed announce in the Federal Register that it
was permitting Plaintiffs (and any other affected parties) to initiate a review of the BOD by
submitting to DHS “a written response and any additional information or evidence supporting
the response, to explain the adverse consequences, address the Department’s concerns or
mitigate those concerns.” (82 Fed. Reg. 180, 43783, 43784 (Sept. 19, 2017)). DHS gave
Plaintiffs until November 3, 2017 (subsequently extended to November 10, 2017) to respond to
The Federal Register further provided that, following DHS’s receipt of a
response to the BOD, “…the Secretary’s decision will be communicated to the entity in writing
by December 13, 2017.” (Id.) But this was one day after the 90-day deadline by which agencies
were to have begun removing Kaspersky products. In apparent acknowledgement of this
procedural deficiency, the Information Memorandum accompanying the Final Decision
“recommend[s] that [the Acting Secretary] respond to Kaspersky and issue [her] Final Decision
on or before Monday, December 11”—notwithstanding the December 13, 2017, deadline set
forth in the Federal Register. (Final Decision Information Memorandum at 3).
On September 29, 2017, DHS retrospectively provided Plaintiffs, through their
counsel, access to an internal 21-page DHS Information Memorandum drafted and submitted to
the then Acting DHS Secretary on September 1, 2017, in support of the BOD (the “BOD
On November 10, 2017, Plaintiffs delivered to the Defendants the Kaspersky Lab
Submission, an extensive written response to the BOD and its Information.
The Kaspersky Lab Submission rebutted at length the legal and factual allegations
levied against Plaintiffs, corrected many misunderstandings held by DHS (as perpetuated by the
news articles it cited), and highlighted the deficiencies in the administrative process offered by
Following the issuance of the BOD, DHS had repeatedly declined the requests of
Plaintiffs and their counsel to engage in order to present the Company’s position, address DHS’s
concerns, and discuss any potential options for mitigation. Following the Kaspersky Lab
Submission, DHS did finally agree to meet with Plaintiffs’ representatives and counsel on
November 29, 2017. At that meeting Plaintiffs responded to a number of questions from
Defendants’ attorneys regarding the Kaspersky Lab Submission but Defendants did not offer any
further support for the BOD, much less an indication that they were willing to rectify the
procedural or substantive deficiencies in the BOD or consider any mitigating options short of the
outright ban contemplated by the BOD.
Plaintiffs believe that such options were available to Defendants and have not
been fully explored, either prior to or subsequent to the issuance of the BOD.
On December 6, 2017, and without any adequate consideration of the Kaspersky
Lab Submission, DHS issued a “Final Decision maintaining BOD 17-01 without modification”
(the “Final Decision”). The Final Decision was accompanied by a Letter to Plaintiffs and an
Information Memorandum directed to the Acting Secretary in support of the Final Decision (the
Without Justification, Defendants’ Administrative Process Provided No Notice or
Opportunity to be Heard Prior to Deprivation
Although the BOD’s 30-60-90 day structure gives the impression that harm is not
immediate, in reality, the BOD is an immediate and complete debarment of Kaspersky Lab from
government business upon issuance.
At a November 14, 2017, Hearing of the Committee on Science, Space, and
Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives (“Bolstering the Government’s Cybersecurity:
A Survey of Compliance with the DHS Directive”), Jeanette Manfra, DHS Assistant Secretary
for Cybersecurity and Communications, testified that some agencies had already proceeded with
removal of Kaspersky products without regard to the 30-60-90 day structure: “We’re working
with each agency individually. Some of them have chosen to go ahead and remove the products
ahead of schedule…Not all of the agencies have submitted the required action plan as I
mentioned. Some of them have gone ahead and just identified a way to remove the software so
they’re going about that.” This testimony was just four days after Plaintiffs submitted the
Kaspersky Lab Submission to DHS and Manfra testified that she had not yet even had an
opportunity to review Plaintiff’s response. Thus, federal agencies had begun removing
Kaspersky software long before DHS even had completed its review of the Kaspersky Lab
The BOD, supported by other actions in Congress, has also had a severe adverse
impact on Kaspersky’s other commercial interests in the U.S., which begun long before the
Defendants’ decision was officially declared “Final.” For example, several retailers have
removed Kaspersky Lab products from their shelves and suspended their long-standing
partnerships with Kaspersky Lab following the issuance of the BOD. As a result of these and
other actions, Plaintiffs’ 2017 Q3 retail sales have fallen significantly compared to the same
period in 2016. Presently, Plaintiffs are receiving and processing an unprecedented volume of
product return and early termination requests as a result of DHS and other U.S. Government
actions, which customers specifically refer to when stating the reason for their return.
Indeed, Christopher Krebs, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under
Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate, who participated in the
recommendation that the BOD be issued, stated DHS’s intent bluntly during public statements on
October 31 2017: “[W]hen [DHS] makes a pretty bold statement like issuing the Kaspersky Lab
binding operational directive I think that’s a fairly strong signal [to consumers].”3 This statement
was made in response to a question regarding how and to what extent consumers should be
informed as to the nature of any risk posed by Kaspersky Lab products in light of the recent
issuance of the BOD. The fact that a senior DHS official decided to make a statement of that
nature at the same time Defendants were purporting to offer Kaspersky Lab a genuine and
meaningful right to be heard makes clear that the DHS specifically intended to prejudice
Kaspersky Lab’s commercial interests even before the expiration of DHS’s own arbitrarily
imposed process and deadline for the implementation of the BOD.
Krebs also confirmed through his statements to the media following the Final
Decision that, with his oversight, federal agencies had actually been removing Kaspersky Labbranded software, while this process was purported to be running, prior to the 90-day mark.
See Aspen Institute, Is the US Losing the Cyber Battle? October 31, 2017
Kaspersky had no opportunity to test or rebut the “evidence” contained in the
BOD or its Information before action was taken (at the time the BOD was issued), and therefore
there has been no opportunity to effectively be heard.
Rather, under the circumstances, the Fifth Amendment required DHS to provide
Plaintiffs procedural protections before debarring it through the BOD. Critically, DHS made no
attempt to demonstrate how prior notice to Plaintiffs would have interfered with DHS’s goals of
eliminating the alleged “information risks.” Nor did DHS show why it failed to consider less
severe measures or potential mitigation that could have been imposed on Kaspersky to address
DHS’s purported concerns. DHS’s failure to provide adequate and timely notice created a
substantial risk of wrongful deprivation.
As explained above, the BOD, the Decision, its Information, the Final Decision,
and the Final Information are all devoid of even a suggestion that the “information security
risks” allegedly presented by Kaspersky Lab are imminent, exigent, or urgent—let alone to a
degree that justify foreclosing pre-deprivation notice.
To the contrary, DHS provides three months for affected agencies to “begin to
implement their plan of action.” (BOD at 2). In the same vein, the BOD rests heavily on media
accounts, some of which are nearly two years old—hardly indicating a paramount need for swift
action. (See, e.g., BOD Information at 8 n.23, 10 n.38.)
In fact, urgency and immediacy are conspicuously absent from the reasons DHS
gives for relying on the BOD rather than the traditional debarment procedure under the Federal
Acquisition Regulations (“FAR”). Rather, the Decision explains that DHS considers the BOD to
be a more “appropriate” process than a debarment proceeding under the FAR principally because
it is more draconian: unlike a debarment pursuant to the FAR, the BOD is prospective as well as
retrospective, requires the removal of Kaspersky-branded products “indefinitely,” and prevents
third parties from selling products produced by Kaspersky. (Decision at 4). And so,
paradoxically, even though it is more thorough in depriving Kaspersky Lab of its rights, the
BOD provides far less adequate process than the FAR, which has a well-established and
constitutionally adequate due process that requires agency decisions be made in consideration of
a contractor’s response before any action is taken to exclude it from future government contracts.
Defendants, in fact, had ample opportunity to provide Kaspersky Lab with due
process protections prior to the issuance of the BOD. Unaware of what action, if any, DHS was
contemplating, Kaspersky Lab wrote to DHS on July 18, 2017, with an offer to provide any
information or assistance with regard to any investigation involving the Company, its operations,
or its products. DHS responded on August 14, 2017, acknowledging the Company’s letter and its
offer of assistance, and indicated that DHS “will be in touch again shortly.” Nearly one month
later, and absent any other communication from DHS, the BOD was issued.
DHS’s Introduction of New Evidence in its Final Decision also Violates Due Process
Aside from failing to provide due process prior to the issuance of the BOD, the
process which DHS professed to provide Plaintiffs after its issuance was not meaningful or fair.
DHS based the BOD at least in part on a supposed concern about Russian law. In
its December 6, 2017, Final Decision, DHS introduced for the first time “an analysis of relevant
portions of Russian law prepared by Professor Peter Maggs of the University of Illinois College
of Law (the ‘Maggs Report’).” (Final Decision at 2).
Rather than introducing the Maggs Report with the September 13, 2017, BOD—
which would have enabled Plaintiffs to address the report when Plaintiffs filed the Kaspersky
Lab Submission—DHS withheld (or did not obtain) the report until its December 6, 2017, Final
Decision. This approach denied Plaintiffs basic due process by unfairly foreclosing Plaintiffs any
opportunity to rebut or contest the Maggs Report.
The BOD is Based Almost Entirely on Uncorroborated Media Reports—Not
Substantial Evidence—and therefore is Arbitrary and Capricious
The BOD and the Final Decision are based on the following three broad
allegations levied against Plaintiffs and their software:
 the broad access to files and elevated privileges of anti-virus software, including
Kaspersky software;  ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian government
agencies; and  requirements under Russian law that allow Russian intelligence
agencies to request or compel assistance from Kaspersky and to intercept
communications transiting between Kaspersky operations in Russia and Kaspersky
customers, including U.S. government customers.
(Final Decision, p. 2-3)
DHS’s record underlying the BOD in support of these three arguments is devoid
of reliable evidence. Rather, the BOD is based on a series of uncorroborated news articles, most
of which rely upon the same anonymous sources, none of which have been tested in a fair and
Broad access to files and elevated privileges of anti-virus software, including
Kaspersky Lab software
DHS relies on an assumption that a particular software product or vendor should
be banned because of a generally presumed susceptibility to exploitation by a malicious actor,
but, tellingly, it does not extend such a prohibition to other software products beyond anti-virus
software or to other anti-virus software vendors besides Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab software operates in a manner that closely mirrors the offerings of
other providers which have not been subject to the DHS action. Neither the BOD Information,
nor the assessment by the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
(“NCCIC Assessment”) on which it relies, provide any technical evidence to indicate that any
Kaspersky Lab product represents either a greater or lesser technical risk to federal information
systems than similar anti-virus software products or vendors.
As noted above, Kaspersky Lab’s U.S. government business represents a small
fraction of its U.S., much less its global, business and software footprint. Other anti-virus
software products have a much larger footprint across federal government systems and are likely
as vulnerable to exploitation by malicious cyber actors as DHS alleges is the case for Kasperskybranded software products.
Thus, if DHS’s claims about anti-virus software were legitimate, DHS would
apply the BOD to other software rather than to Kaspersky Lab products alone.
Ties between Kaspersky Lab and the Russian government
There is no evidence presented by DHS of improper coordination between
Kaspersky Lab or its executives and the Russian Government in furtherance of demonstrable
illicit activities. Rather, DHS speculates that cybersecurity risks are presented by Kaspersky Lab
products merely by virtue of the fact that the Company is headquartered in Moscow.
DHS’s stated concern that the Russian Government engages in cyberespionage
(see, e.g., Decision at 2) is not evidence that any global company like Kaspersky Lab
headquartered (or with operations) in Russia, are facilitating government sponsored cyberintrusions.
In fact, more than 85 percent of Kaspersky Lab’s revenue comes from outside of
Russia—a powerful economic incentive to avoid any action that would endanger the trusted
relationships and integrity that serve as the foundation of its business by conducting
inappropriate or unethical activities with any organization or country.
The BOD Information further alleges that Kaspersky Lab senior executives have
“ties” with the Russian government and highlights, among other things, their long ago former
service within the Russian government and/or military and their current profiles and connections.
(BOD Information at 10-11). It fails to acknowledge, however, that each of these individuals
grew up in the Soviet Union at a time when the government relied heavily on conscripted service.
As such, allegations of this sort could be made against the majority of Russians of the same
generation. These facts do not indicate that their connections or service with the Russian
Government were, or are, inappropriate or that they have continued to this day.
Moreover, DHS does not suggest that an inappropriate relationship (between
Kaspersky Lab and the Russian Government or otherwise) is likely or probable—or even that
there is any relationship whatsoever. DHS simply suggests that such an inappropriate
relationship is possible: “Such an established relationship and connections between Kaspersky
and the FSB [(Russian Security Services)] could facilitate future cooperation for other purposes
and therefore is an area of serious concern to DHS.” (Final Information at 13)(emphasis added).
Requirements under Russian law
The BOD Information alleges that Kaspersky Lab has obtained certificates and
licenses from the Russian Security Services (“FSB”), and that this “suggest[s] an unusually
close” relationship between the two. (BOD Information at 9). But there is simply nothing
unusual about the licenses or certificates Kaspersky Lab has obtained from the FSB in the
normal course of doing business in Russia. All information technology companies involved in
cryptography-related activities operating in Russia (including leading U.S. companies) are
required to obtain the same licenses and certificates from the FSB. In recognizing this exact role
of the FSB in granting certificates for certain commercial products, the U.S. Department of the
Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued General License No. 1 under the Cyber
Sanctions Executive Orders which expressly authorized U.S. companies to obtain precisely the
same licenses from the FSB in a way that would otherwise have been prohibited due to the
FSB’s prior designation under those sanctions authorities.
DHS also claims that the BOD is warranted based on the FSB’s authority to
compel or request assistance from companies in Russia. (Decision at 2; BOD Information at 2,
12). However, this obligation applies to all companies operating in Russia. The FSB can request
information from companies in Russia only in furtherance of specified duties—and are subject to
challenge in Court. Defendants fail to provide any evidence of the FSB actually compelling
Plaintiffs to provide any information on Plaintiffs’ customers in the U.S. or any other evidence of
Plaintiffs’ interaction with Russian authorities that would pose a security threat to federal
agencies using the software in the U.S.
VIII. Defendants’ Failure to Acknowledge and Fulfill Due Process and APA Protections
DHS, through its actions and statements described above, has demonstrated its
willing failure to comply with the requirements of the APA and the U.S. Constitution in issuing
the BOD. Plaintiffs explained these violations in the Kaspersky Lab Submission.
Rather than responding to these deficiencies and attempting in any way to remedy
them, DHS cursorily dismissed them in its Final Decision and Information. DHS says simply that
it is: “confident that the BOD procedures are constitutional and lawful,” that the “BOD is based
on a substantial body of evidence,” and that DHS “provided Kaspersky with meaningful notice
and opportunity to confront the evidence against it.” (Final Information at 23.)
For the reasons set out in this Complaint, this is not the case. DHS has not, in the
Final Information, the Final Decision, or anywhere else, demonstrated its fulfillment of its
obligations under the APA or the U.S. Constitution.
EXHAUSTION, FINALITY, AND STANDING
Plaintiffs have exhausted the professed “administrative process” provided by
DHS as described above, through the November 10, 2017, Kaspersky Lab Submission.
Plaintiffs challenge a “final agency action” for purposes section 704 of the APA.
After DHS issued the BOD, and Plaintiffs submitted the Kaspersky Lab Submission, DHS issued
its “Final Decision maintaining BOD 17-01,” as explained above.
Plaintiff Kaspersky Lab, Inc. has standing to bring this suit because the Company
sold its products (through its partners) to the U.S. Government, and is injured by the debarment
effectuated by the BOD. The company also has been injured by DHS’s disparagement of the
Company through the BOD.
Plaintiff Kaspersky Labs Limited also has standing. As the U.K. parent,
Kaspersky Labs Limited suffers financial harm due to its wholly-owned subsidiary’s loss of sales
and reputational injury, resulting from the BOD. Kaspersky Labs Limited is also injured by the
BOD’s preclusive effect. The BOD orders all federal agencies to discontinue all Kasperskybranded software, thereby precluding Kaspersky Labs Limited from making a direct sale to the
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
(Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(B) and the Due Process Clause of the
Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution)
Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully restated herein, paragraphs 1-81
The APA directs that the “the reviewing court shall ... hold unlawful and set aside
agency actions, findings, and conclusions found to be … contrary to constitutional right, power,
privilege, or immunity.” 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(B).
The BOD, as issued to Kaspersky Lab, and upheld by the Final Decision is
unlawful and contrary to constitutional right, power, privilege, and immunity.
DHS violated Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment rights to due process by depriving
Plaintiffs of a protected liberty interest, with constitutionally insufficient procedures attendant
upon that deprivation. Through the BOD, DHS debarred Plaintiffs from government contracting,
and effectively terminated Kaspersky Lab as a government contractor while simultaneously
broadcasting to the world insufficient and uncorroborated reasons for that termination. As
explained above, DHS was required to provide pre-deprivation due process, and did not.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
(Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A))
Plaintiffs incorporate by reference, as if fully restated herein, paragraphs 1-81
The APA directs that “the reviewing court shall...hold unlawful and set aside
agency actions, findings, and conclusions found to be…arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of
discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A).
The BOD is not supported by substantial evidence. DHS did not properly evaluate
the strength of the evidence before it, and therefore failed to satisfactorily support its decision or
identify a rational connection between the facts before it and the conclusions it reached.
Accordingly, the BOD was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of agency discretion.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs respectfully request that a judgment be granted:
Preliminarily and permanently invalidating and rescinding the BOD and the
December 6, 2017, Final Decision maintaining the BOD and enjoining DHS from
enforcing the BOD and the Final Decision;
Declaring the BOD and Final Decision invalid, and declaring that the presence of
Kaspersky Lab-branded products on federal information systems do not present a
known or reasonably suspected information security threat, vulnerability, and risk
to federal information systems; and
Granting such other relief as the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: December 18, 2017
/s/ Ryan P. Fayhee
Ryan P. Fayhee (Bar No. 1033852)
Steven Chasin (Bar No. 495853)
Baker & McKenzie LLP
815 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington D.C. 20006
Tel: (202) 452 7024
Fax: (202) 416 7024
Attorneys for Kaspersky Lab, Inc. and Kaspersky Labs Limited
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