In a precedent-setting case for the Internet security industry, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Kaspersky Lab is entitled to immunity under the safe harbour provision of the Communications Decency Act from a suit claiming that its software interfered with the use of downloadable programs by customers of Zango.
The court ruled that Kaspersky Lab, which classified online media company Zango's software as malware and protected users from it accordingly, could not be held liable for any actions it took to manufacture and distribute the technical means to restrict Zango software’s access to others, as Kaspersky Lab deemed it objectionable material.
Zango sued Kaspersky Lab to force the company to reclassify Zango's programs as nonthreatening and to prevent Kaspersky Lab's security software from blocking Zango's potentially undesirable programs.
In a landmark ruling for the anti-malware industry, the Appeal Court affirmed a lower court ruling that Kaspersky Lab is a provider of an interactive computer service as defined in the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
The court decision stated: “Kaspersky contends that Zango's software is adware, and possibly spyware. Spyware, which is often installed on a computer without the user's knowledge or consent, covertly monitors the user's activities and exposes the user to the risk that his or her passwords and confidential information may be stolen. As its software qualifies, Kaspersky is entitled to Good Samaritan immunity.”
The ruling protects a consumer’s choice to determine what information and software is allowed on their computing systems, and protects the ability of anti-malware vendors to identify and label software programs that may be potentially unwanted and harmful to computer users. Kaspersky Lab's software is designed to do just that, and users can adjust the settings to allow certain programs of their choice to come through at all times.