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Kaspersky Wins Important Ruling for the Anti-Malware Industry

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the seperating-bad-from-good dept.

The Courts 96

ABC writes "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 the important ruling for the anti-malware industry, Judge Coughenour of the Western District of Washington threw out Zango's lawsuit on the grounds that Kaspersky was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act."

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Nice (-1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433097)

An interesting development.

this article is Kaspersky-ad (1, Insightful)

ed.mps (1015669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433141)

(but this is /. anyway) Ok, despite the marketing bias of the article, a decision against a malware vendor is always good, mainly if you have in mind which type of user will get these crappy things (w)installed.

Re:this article is Kaspersky-ad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20435623)

Can you be a f'kin idiot any more than you are now?

Kaspersky is known for not advertising. They spend more money on research than advertising dollars like Symantec, and have a much better product.

Re:this article is Kaspersky-ad (0)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 7 years ago | (#20437599)

Kaspersky, the friendly ghostski
The Friendliest ghostski you knowski


Hello everyoneski my nameski is Kaspersky
And I want to be a friendski to youski.

Wow, what a name... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433143)

"In the important ruling for the anti-malware industry, Judge Coughenator of the Western District of Washington threw out Zango's lawsuit on the grounds that Kaspersky was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act."


Poor guy, that Coughenator...his lungs must be shot.

Re:Wow, what a name... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433211)

I'll be bronchial...

nah, it doesnt work :(

Re:Wow, what a name... (1)

beamdriver (554241) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433551)

He must be related to Mr Smokestoomuch [youtube.com]

Re:Wow, what a name... (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433981)

I think they've missed a chance for major punnage..

"In a phleghmboyant ruling for the anti-malware industry, Judge Coughenator of the Western District of Washington spat out Zango's lawsuit on the grounds that Kaspersky was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act."

In Soviet Russia... (1)

nstrom (152310) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433159)

Nice decision. I thought Kaspersky was a Russian operation though, was there really standing to sue them in a US court?

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2, Informative)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433215)

Kaspersky Labs is a Russian concern, a really nice AV product.
Eugene Kaspersky is a fantastic programmer and has always
had his hand in the business of stopping those sneaky bastards
who send us viruses and trojans and malware. :P

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20434175)

If that's a sonnet, I think you've missed out on rhyming and syllable count. Or you just like hard returns way too much.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2, Funny)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435941)

Let's see now, too fast through the pentameter, failing to stop at an enjambment, yup, I'm going to need to see your poetic licence, son.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1, Funny)

CrystalFalcon (233559) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433237)

Of course. Russia is part of the US judicial system. So is the rest of the world, like Montana and Oregon.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (2)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433669)

``Of course. Russia is part of the US judicial system.''

As we _should_ all know, really. I mean, otherwise arresting Dmitry Sklyarov [wikipedia.org] would have been out of bounds. And we all know that wasn't the case; to say otherwise would be blasphemy. You can't violate the DMCA in Russia and walk free!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433693)

``Russia is part of the US judicial system. So is the rest of the world, like Montana and Oregon.''

Are you sure you aren't confusing Russia [wikipedia.org] and Georgia [wikipedia.org] ? Err, I mean Georgia [wikipedia.org] .

Re:In Soviet Russia... (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433303)

They have offices in the US, from which they sell their software to US customers.

Wait, what? (4, Funny)

slughead (592713) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433181)

OK, well on the box, why don't they just say "Removes spyware, malware, viruses... and Zango"

Wouldn't that take care of the legal problem?

Re:Wait, what? (1)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433377)

Why bother? There is no legal problem; Kapersky won.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433531)

And then next year it will be "Removes spyware, malware, viruses, Zango, and GAIN/Claria/whatever." Eventually the box will have to have a fold-out portion to name all of the stuff it removes if they went down that road.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

slazzy (864185) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435405)

How about "Removes spyware, malware, viruses and other potentially unwanted programs"

Re:Wait, what? (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433917)

"Removes spyware, malware, viruses ... and may contain nuts"

Re:Wait, what? (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434025)

Keep out of reach of malware authors.

Please note: this product is not intended as a substitute for braincells.

infactdead corepirate nazis still WAY off track (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433195)

it's only a matter of time/space/circumstance.

previous post:
mynuts won 'off t(r)opic'???
(Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 30, @10:22AM (#20411119)
eye gas you could call this 'weather'?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8004881114 [google.com] 646406827 [google.com]

be careful, the whack(off)job in the next compartment may be a high RANKing corepirate nazi official.

previous post:
whoreabull corepirate nazi felons planning trips
(Score: mynuts won, robbIE's 'secret' censorship score)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, @12:13PM (#20072457)
in orbit perhaps? we wouldn't want to be within 500 miles of the naykid furor at this power point.

better days ahead?

as in payper liesense hypenosys stock markup FraUD felons are on their way out? what a revolutionary concept.

from previous post: many demand corepirate nazi execrable stop abusing US

we the peepoles?

how is it allowed? just like corn passing through a bird's butt eye gas.

all they (the felonious nazi execrable) want is... everything. at what cost to US?

for many of US, the only way out is up.

don't forget, for each of the creators' innocents harmed (in any way) there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/US as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile will not be available after the big flash occurs.

'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi life0cidal glowbull warmongering execrable.

some of US should consider ourselves very fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

concern about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Re:infactdead corepirate nazis still WAY off track (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20436459)

And here I was thinking beatniks were long gone... groove on brother!

CDA Trumps Constitution? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433217)

"the Communications Decency Act, part of which states: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected, or any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to [such] material.""

I don't like this at all. It seems to me to indicate that my ISP can block me from p0rn, for my own good, and I have no recourse. And it doesn't matter if it is constitutionally protected material? WTF?

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (4, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433375)

IANAL but I don't think it means that you ISP could block access to material at their discretion.

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected, or any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to [such] material."

So what I take from that is that you have to want the service to block said material AND said service must be "interactive", which I assume means that you have to run it yourself and have a direct say in what it does.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (0)

gomiam (587421) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433487)

I disagree. Someone (user or provider) won't be liable if that someone (user or provider, not just the user) voluntarily takes ah action in good faith to restrict access or availability to "indecent" material. As I read it, voluntarily excludes cases of negligence causing the material being unavailable or inaccessible. If the ISP willfully decided to restrict access to some "indecent" material, the user can't force the ISP to allow the user to access such material. And, unlike with antivirus, your choice of ISPs may be greatly restricted depending on where you live.

IANAL, either, so please let there be one to cast light on this issue.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

jcorno (889560) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433683)

Your ISP is not an interactive computer service. If the filtering service were interactive, you'd be able to switch it on and off, or at least have some control over what's being filtered. If that's the case, what are you complaining about? Just turn it off. Otherwise, the law doesn't apply.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433495)

The intent of this law was to make it possible for ISP's to offer filtered access to those who wanted it. Without this, they could be sued if some site slips through or a legitimate site gets blocked accidentally.

Your ISP has always retained the right to filter your service and most likely does so extensively. Book stores don't have to carry adult books if they don't want to -- you are free to shop elsewhere.

ISPs are providers of interactive computer services. The 'voluntarily' applies to the the ISP's decision to filter something.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433991)

An ISP is not a book store. In most areas it is one of a very narrow range of choices for internet access. It is also quite different than deciding not to offer a service, it is like the post office deciding which books you can have sent to you. It has to go to great expense to deny you access. This is an insidious form of censorship disguised as the free market.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 7 years ago | (#20436471)

So what do you suggest? Would you prohibit ISPs from filtering out spam and malware? Or would you hold an ISP liable for damages if it marked an unsolicited job offer as spam and someone lost the job opportunity because of it?

I do agree that some ISPs abuse this privilege. But I don't think the laws or the courts can decide what ISPs should and should not be filtering. The idea that all ISP service should be unfiltered is, unfortunately, just not reasonable. The percentage of customers who are technically qualified to safely use such a service is very small.

By the way, I live in a fairly remote area of northern California. Cable and DSL are impossible. My Internet access is ISDN. Nevertheless, I had my choice of six ISPs. One of them was willing to offer me the right to opt out of any filtering they might want to apply and to notify me as soon as possible of any changes in their filtering policy. They got my business and have had it for many years.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

QMO (836285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20481275)

An ISP is not a book store.
That's very true. There are definitely more ISP options in the small town where I live than there are bookstores. My parents live in a smaller town, that doesn't have a bookstore, but they have several choices for internet access. (Not counting the bookstores one can access through an ISP.)

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

lenester (625236) | more than 7 years ago | (#20482705)

I work at one such small-town ISP and I can say with certainty that only it's the absence of ubiquitous cable service that lets us exist. Most of our immediate area doesn't even have DSL-capable phone switches, and in fact even ISDN is unavailable here. We've got a high-bandwidth wireless service, but it's comparable to satellite in cost, and the service area is limited to those who can see the transmitters (they're on the highest peaks, but this is hill country). The vast majority of our customers are still on dial-up.

If Comcast showed up, we'd pretty much vanish. So I think that the market variety in small towns is not representative here. In places where there are more people, there are fewer ISPs -- but more bookstores, because national chains are competing for your attention, as opposed to the privately owned shops in rural areas.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433509)

IANAL either, but I think this can be linked to "safe harbor" provisions - that you can EITHER choose to be an "interactive service" OR a "blind access provider". Being an interactive service provider means you can exclude content you do not want or feel is appropriate, but the flipside of it is (if I understand correctly) that you have responsibility for the content that you DO provide. In a somewhat bizarre "if you take responsibility for some of it, you must take responsibility for all of it" way. This is a rather painful position to be in, hence providers are comfortably protected by "safe harbor provisions" that don't hold them liable if the content they happen to serve up is child porn. The act of restricting content itself would lose you safe harbor provisions, but make you liable for policing your content along lines that must include illegal content but could go further than that if you wanted to.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

enrevanche (953125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434193)

Wrong

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers . . . This means that the ISP is not liable for its censorship.

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers . . . This means that a library or school is not liable for its censorship.

It's absurd to interpret this as the provider is not liable for the censorship an individual (or parent) self imposes.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433485)

And in a free market they can and should have the ability to do that.

Will you be their customer if they do that?

Doubt it. You have to give your customer the product they want; if an ISP began blocking porn, how fast would their subscriber base go? They KNOW their subscriber base demands P2P, freaky tentacle porn, and E-mail; they know it and they know their business relies on their customers being able to access those materials.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

bythescruff (522831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433901)

"I don't like this at all. It seems to me to indicate that my ISP can block me from p0rn, for my own good, and I have no recourse. And it doesn't matter if it is constitutionally protected material?"

No, the Constitution only says that the *government* can't prevent you from seeing such material. Your ISP can refuse to carry it, but then you can choose another ISP. Theoretically.

2257 (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434455)

The government can't block porn, but they can make it easier for others to do it. They can also make it more difficult for companies to make it available.

The government used 18 USC 2257 for that. 2257 requires the producers of porn to get IDs for the people in porn movies. Seems sensible, right? Well, they have played with it. 1. They only permit the use of US ID if you make it film (pictures, etc) in the USA (to get on the plane you have to show government ID). That means, the I can't do movies with the Swedish twins, Helga and Inga, from last weekend. 2. They require people who distribute (secondary producers) it to have the IDs on the models, and just think of the potential for stalkers -- Any horny geek can now start a web site, buy content, and get all the personal data on the porn actress.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434603)

You can choose another ISP, or use some other method, i.e. having a copy mailed to you or even sneakernet, to legally get any material that isn't legally obscene. The law doesn't count the ISP's actions as censorship, in part because of all the other legal alternatives, including alternatives that exist even in places where there is no choice of ISP.
      There's a huge and increasing gap between De Facto, and De Jure here. With Copyright law and the DCMA as they are, those other alternatives may not in fact be legally available. ISPs often don't actually have competition, or all ISPs in an area may collude to block certain material. Using programs that allow someone to record streaming video or similar methods and making even a single hard copy may not count as fair use with the current system and so leave a citizen in technical violation even if there is no unauthorized distribution to a second party.
        So effectively, this is a form of censorship, and the existing constitution doesn't protect against it unless the DMCA, at least, is declared unconstitutional. It's also a form of censorship that will work better on poor people, people in rural areas, more law abiding people, and the technically illiterate. Those last two types just describe usual limitations of censorship, but the first two groups are supposed to be entitled to equal protection under law.

yes, your ISP can (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434457)



my ISP can block me from p0rn

Your ISP can absolutely block porn. Not just technically, but legally. They mostly don't because if they were to do so, then they would become more liable for the data that's transmitted via their service.

I say mostly because many ISPs are doing packet shaping in order to protect their bandwidth from torrent abuse, etc.

Seth

Re:yes, your ISP can (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 7 years ago | (#20437391)

It is not longer true that by blocking porn (or trying to) they become more liable for the data that's transmitted via their service. That was the whole point of this article -- you can block in good faith without incurring liability for false positives or false negatives.

Congress feared that liability for bad blocking might discourage ISPs from providing "more child safe" services. They were concerned about services like AOL that moderate their forums and remove obviously inappropriate messages opting to not moderate at all rather than risk liability for mis-moderation.

I don't think they intended this to apply to spamware/malware software. But I think it's a good thing that it does.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435107)

I don't like this at all. It seems to me to indicate that my ISP can block me from p0rn, for my own good, and I have no recourse.
You have recourse. Change ISP.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435755)

You do realise that the constitution applies to the government and government agencies and not to companies, don't you?

If your ISP is owned by the government then no, it can't block your porn access. Otherwise, it's free to block whatever it wants.

Re:CDA Trumps Constitution? (1)

The Warlock (701535) | more than 7 years ago | (#20482111)

Your ISP is not the government. You have no right to tell your ISP what they can and cannot block from you other than the right that you always have to take your business elsewhere.

The First Amendment reads "Congress shall pass no law abridging" etc. etc. When the hell did your ISP become Congress?

Surprised and gratified (2, Interesting)

golodh (893453) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433223)

Well ... I'm surprised and gratified that in this case the law actually protects users instead of companies out to turn a buck. That isn't always the case I feel.

And yes, I think the immunity is for the right reasons: there are lots of advertisements and pieces of commercial attention-grabbing software that I don't want on my system. I don't care a hoot if that's fair or not w.r.t. whatever company thought they'd bring out such software. I just want to be able to prevent it from installing.

So any anti-virus software, anti-spyware software like Adaware is something *I* run, and what they remove or disable they do so on *my* authority.

I'm just relieved to see that not every random company out there can sue them for providing me the service I ask for on my own computer.

Re:Surprised and gratified (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433625)

``I'm just relieved to see that not every random company out there can sue them for providing me the service I ask for on my own computer.''

But that's not what the law says, now, is it?

I think this law is bad. The fact that it was used to obtain an outcome that many people find desirable doesn't change that.

Good result. Questionable Logic. (3, Interesting)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433241)

I have not read the full opinion yet, but I am at a loss to see how this fits under the CDA's definition of an "interactive computer service." I thought that Kaspersky, like most virus detection programs, ran as a process on the user's machine and only connected to a server for definitions updates. if so, I can't see how that classifies as an "interactive computer service" under the act. Then again, maybe I'm just not being creative enough in my statutory interpretation.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433399)

In short because it contacts the Kapersky servers regularly for updates.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434861)

I acknowledged that point - that does not mean that it qualifies as an "interactive service" as that term is used by the statute.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

CheddarHead (811916) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435329)

Sorry, I should have been clearer. Yes, you did acknowledge the point, but that was exactly the point that the judge focused on in making the ruling. So whether or not that really makes it an interactive service, that is the thing that the judge believed made it an interactive service.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 7 years ago | (#20489825)

The statute says:

"The term ''interactive computer service'' means any information service, system, or access software provider that provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including specifically a service or system that provides access to the Internet and such systems operated or services offered by libraries or educational institutions."

So, yes, it's a bit of stretch for that to cover a piece of software that only incidentally uses a server. Oddly, the law has similar protections for an "access software provider", which seems to fit a bit better:

"The term ''access software provider'' means a provider of software (including client or server software), or enabling tools that do any one or more of the following:

(A) filter, screen, allow, or disallow content;
(B) pick, choose, analyze, or digest content; or
(C) transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset, organize, reorganize, or translate content."

Seems the result should follow from (A) and (B). Malware scanners certainly filter, screen, and allow or disallow content.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 7 years ago | (#20505755)

I agree that the "access software provider" sections seem to describe Kaspersky better. I am not sure that software in the form of executable code is "content" as used in the statute.

I guess I will have to spend some time this weekend going over the decision and re-reading the statute. Thanks for the citation.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20434421)

I would assume because the user interactively sets a series of options on what malware is to be removed or scanned for.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434873)

That does not seem to be enough to qualify as an "interactive service" as that term is used in the statute. Just the act of downloading updates fits a broad technical definition - but the statute is clearly focused on blogs, websites, email providers, and the like. That is what the term was intended to encompass. This seems like a stretch as far as statutory interpretation goes.

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 7 years ago | (#20440879)

The applicability of the statute to Zango itself raised eyebrows here. The article includes this text from the Act describing the content to which the statute applies: "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable."

I take it Zango falls into the "otherwise objectionable" category? Who determines if something is "objectionable?" Isn't this term incredibly elastic? I doubt many members of Congress would have imagined the CDA covering Zango's software.

The word "filthy" is an amusing inclusion as well. Would this cover sites that show photos of children playing in mud?

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

Gnavpot (708731) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434485)

I thought that Kaspersky, like most virus detection programs, ran as a process on the user's machine and only connected to a server for definitions updates. if so, I can't see how that classifies as an "interactive computer service" under the act.

You don't have to be an interactive computer service to get protection. Creators of utilities for this type of blocking are protected too. The utilities don't even have to be intended for use in an interactive computer service. See this part of the law text (copied from elsewhere in this discussion):

"or any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to [such] material"

Re:Good result. Questionable Logic. (1)

xigxag (167441) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434561)

The answer's in TFA, basically the entire penultimate paragraph. In part it says, "Users can adjust the settings to allow certain programs of their choice to come through at all times." That's interactivity.

Kaspersky and CIPAV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433285)

I don't care what Kaspersky says, or that they aren't an American company, they are colluding with the feds on this whole CIPAV thing. All the feds had to do was threaten to make doing business difficult for them (and they have ways), and I guarantee you they folded like a cheap suit.

Re:Kaspersky and CIPAV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433345)

Which is probably why they get favorable rulings like this in the US court system - bought and paid for, lock, stock and barrel by the Dept of Homeland Security.

Look at the way Network Associates volunteered to cooperate since way back when CIPAV was still called "Magic Lantern" - I guarantee you they all fell in line just like NA did so as to avoid any loss of value to stockholders/owners/stakeholders/whatever.

Hooray! (4, Funny)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433297)

And god damn zango!

I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.

Oh, and god damn their lawyers too.

Remember when... (4, Interesting)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433355)

I remember "back in the day" when spyware was still something you needed a separate scanner (Ad-Aware, Spybot S&D, etc..) for.

My pet theory was that since a lot of the spyware was coming from legit (but questionable) companies, the major antivirus players were afraid of touching it due to the threat of these kinds of lawsuits. Even though spyware and malware has since grown to such a pervasive problem that the big AV firms have gotten on board, I bet they were all watching the outcome of this suit. I for one am really happy that the ruling went in Kaspersky's favor, and shudder to think what would have happened if it hadn't.

Hopefully this ruling will send notice that you can't hide behind "restraint of trade" to keep antivirus / antispam programs from calling a spade a spade.

Re:Remember when... (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433595)

``I for one am really happy that the ruling went in Kaspersky's favor, and shudder to think what would have happened if it hadn't.''

Companies would stop detecting spyware, and people would run away from Windows, screaming in terror?

Ah...one can dream.

Re:Remember when... (2, Interesting)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#20437503)

As someone who ran away from Windows, screaming in terror, I have to say: Probably not.

I went to Linux exclusively over a year and a half ago, but I'm not about to recommend it to most non-techies I know. Even when I've cleaned all the crap off of their computers that they accumulate in the form of spyware and viruses. I have no experience with Mac or any BSD variant, so I can't recommend that, either.

Warts and all, Windows is what most people know, and most aren't interested enough to learn anything new -- even if it's not complicated (which Linux can be). And by "warts" I mean "Zango and friends."

Besides... I like the non-techie admiration of my "genius" when I run AdAware and Spybot for them and get rid of spyware. It must be the feeling jocks get when they win a game.

Re:Remember when... (4, Informative)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433701)

I remember "back in the day" when spyware was still something you needed a separate scanner (Ad-Aware, Spybot S&D, etc..) for.

Uh, someone remind me what the modern way to remove spyware is?

I still use those programs :-/

Re:Remember when... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434241)

Uh, someone remind me what the modern way to remove spyware is? I still use those programs :-/

The programs are a convenience (friendly GUI, progress dialogs, etc.).

Determining what files are sitting on your hard drive, what settings (startup, etc.) are contained in your registry, or what programs or services are currently running on your system, etc., etc., doesn't require the installation of any these "scanner" programs. It's basic administration. Boring job, maybe, but it's a fact of life. And no more difficult than picking a good book and learning to use the tools already available to you.

Re:Remember when... (3, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434289)

Right, because everyone knows how to find the registry, everyone knows how to find how to find the registry, everyone knows how to interpret the registry, everyone knows how to kill programs running as "SYSTEM" and keep them from running again, and all malware is immediately obvious as being on your hard drive.

You're an idiot.

Re:Remember when... (0, Troll)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438449)

Right, because everyone knows how to find the registry, everyone knows how to find how to find the registry, everyone knows how to interpret the registry, everyone knows how to kill programs running as "SYSTEM" and keep them from running again, and all malware is immediately obvious as being on your hard drive.

I didn't say everyone. I implied anyone armed with the knowledge that comes from simply reading a fairly ordinary book. Again, a cursory understanding of the registry and such things startup routines and how to manage what is started and turn off what is undesired (irrespective of what account it will run under) isn't rocket science. It's fundamental to how Windows works, i.e., it should be basic knowledge, just like being able to find a file. The folks who consider themselves "power users" (whatever that is), can google for how to start cmd.exe under the SYSTEM account to impress friends and family; unlikely that they'll ever come across a reason to use it.

You're an idiot.

Look, you won't find a more patient or sympathetic individual when it comes to helping people who don't know very much. I could teach any of the above to a new user in an hour or two, or they could buy a book and learn for themselves. Hardly an onerous requirement, given that most of us are (and will be, for the forseeable future) spending our waking hours using a computer. Hell, I'd bet most of the positive results from these malware scanners is a direct result of simply people not bothering to configure whatever program they installed and now need a tool to uncheck the radio boxes they left checked.

If you're thinking "Well, no one needs to know anything -- they just want to use a tool", then consider two fairly evident truths. First, a computer isn't a single-purpose tool. The "La la la I can't hear you!" approach won't make it so. Second, the investment in time learning something always outweighs the costs of insisting on (or trumpeting) ignorance, and then dealing consequences thereof. Only an idealogue would suggest otherwise.

In that light, installing and running malware scanners, etc., etc., etc., I see as a convience at best, and a false economy at worst. That's a fair statement. Put another way, you don't need them.

Re:Remember when... (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#20457891)

Okay, which book can I pick up that shows me how to shut down an arbitrary process I see running in the task manager? Which book was I supposed to read that shows how to fix all the problems with unwanted programs, without using software specifically for that purpose? I notice that in two condescending posts, you never got to any of that. And like most elitists, you're assuming that any slowdown in someone's computers comes from a few, narrow, mind-numbingly stupid errors. If anyone's clueless here, it's you.

Re:Remember when... (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434737)

Yeah, but why the fuck would you do that if there's a program that does an equally good job, without any manual intervention? That's like doing a Riemann sum of a simple equation (with stupidly small slices, to boot) when you have perfectly good knowledge of calculus. I have better things to spend my time on than futzing around with the file system and windows registry trying to root out any number of garbageware programs someone else was ignorant enough to install.

Re:Remember when... (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20437103)

do you grind your own corn with two flat rocks too?

Re:Remember when... (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 7 years ago | (#20437821)

The modern way is to get a halfway decent antivirus. (I'm not going to point any fingers, but I've removed certain antiviruses, and installed others, only to be deluged with adware/virus detects). And let it do the job. (note: I have yet to see *any* antivirus vendor actually claim more than 98% detection rating. There's a decent chance you're infected regardless of what the scanners say if you run Windows).

I don't know of any antivirus vendors that don't support anti-spyware/malware functions these days, though AVG has a seperate program for it. Most seem to be taking the opinion that these things are simply an addition category of malware to deal with. Especially as the things have advanced from questionably legal, to outright scary infectious. (I've seen explorer.exe infected as part of a NotAVirus type adware attack.)

Re:Remember when... (1)

edtech (840813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20438371)

The modern way is to buy a Mac and use OS X. No viruses or spyware on the loose yet.

Re: "Legit but Questionable Company" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433809)


So what does this mean to actions to block Microsoft's famous Windows Genuine Advantage? I have a lot of respect for judges - sometimes they can slide a ruling and paint it so perfectly for the issue at hand that everyone applauds... and then hand their superior court a precedent for their higher level case ... that earns them a standing ovation.

At what level is WGA different from Zango's claim, on the legal level?

Re:Remember when... (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434527)

Usually when their attempts at defamation / trademark infringement rulings fail, they go right for the deep end of tort law - "interference with contract" (user agreed contractually to install this trash) or "tortious interference with prospective economic advantage"...that one's a hoot.

hmmm (4, Interesting)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433383)

I'm as much of a fanboy of the stick it to malware developers movement, but this is kind of sets off a few flags.

Kaspersky was immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act, part of which states: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected, or any action taken to enable or make available to information content providers or others the technical means to restrict access to [such] material."


It will be interesting to see two things: 1) how this cause stands up when something like Nortan AV "accidentally" gets blocked; 2)IANAL, but shouldn't this cover DRM? It falls under otherwise objectionable at the very least (filthy too, IMHO).

Re:hmmm (2, Informative)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433891)

1) how this cause stands up when something like Nortan AV "accidentally" gets blocked

They'd have a hard time claiming that was done in "good faith".

2)IANAL, but shouldn't this cover DRM? It falls under otherwise objectionable at the very least (filthy too, IMHO)

Does it come under "material" though? It's not as if the DRM is in a few bits on the end you can knock off, you have to extract the data out of the DRMed format it's in.

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20481729)

I was wondering the same thing.
Of course, if WGA can be blocked... they can block you from accessing THEIR services. Touche, I guess.

Still, disabling software... the license of Vista stating it is unlawful to circumvent technical limitations (i.e. stopping a program from running) might be non-legal threats now. Those program seems VERY annoying and harassing to me! (Not that I plan to ever run Vista anyway)

Re:hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20435051)

If it weren't for the DMCA, along with any legally-enforceable EULAs you may be be under, it would absolutely be legal to remove DRM from anything you own. Removing DRM isn't illegal, if you do it in a legal manner; the trouble with the DMCA is that almost all practical ways of doing that are now off-limits.

Confused (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433421)

1) I'm unclear what law Kapersky violated that even allowed them to bring this suit. The closest thing I can find is "[Kapersky] has asked for unspecified monetary damages and an injunction forcing Zone Labs to cease its current classification of the products." but that's not clear enough.

2) The CDA provides protection for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, and harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected."

Why do we need a law that says a user can control what is installed on their computer? That's absurd!

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433467)

1) I'm unclear what law Kapersky violated that even allowed them to bring this suit. The closest thing I can find is "[Kapersky] has asked for unspecified monetary damages and an injunction forcing Zone Labs to cease its current classification of the products." but that's not clear enough.

Not having seen the suit (and IANAL), my guess would be that Zango brought it as a defamation suit -- they probably didn't like that their software was being classified as malware, so they went after Kaspersky for slander/libel.

Re:Confused (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434563)

'' I'm unclear what law Kapersky violated that even allowed them to bring this suit. The closest thing I can find is "[Kapersky] has asked for unspecified monetary damages and an injunction forcing Zone Labs to cease its current classification of the products." but that's not clear enough. ''

Probably interference with business. Wait until drug dealers start suing the police for interfering with their business.

'' The CDA provides protection for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, and harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected."

Why do we need a law that says a user can control what is installed on their computer? That's absurd! ''

No, the protection is in case some antivirus or similar filtering software filters out something that it shouldn't. For example, if you want no porn on your computer and install some filtering software, that software might make a mistake and filter out a website that it shouldn't. As long as this was done in good faith, neither you nor the website can sue them successfully. In this case, it also means that Kaspersky is (1) allowed to filter all actual malware and (2) anything that it reasonably believes to be malware, without having to prove it in court.

I know this here is not the US (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433471)

But I want to know if Kaspersky will stop things like this [bbc.co.uk] . And what's going to happen if they do try to remove American government malware? Will they receive a "notice"?

trou7l (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433521)

for the 4rojec

Trivial way to solve this (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433593)

Upon install, have the user OK that the program will block anything that is believes to be dangerous (as in malware, virus, etc). Once the user has given permission, it does not matter what a 3rd party wants. ABout the ONLY party who has a case is MS, or Apple, or the unix or BSD company. This would probably not be needed for any GPL OS including Linux, Minix, HURD, etc as they gave nearly all rights to the end-user.

Re:Trivial way to solve this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20433827)

You are sadly confused concerning BSD.

Congratulate Zango (4, Funny)

Porchroof (726270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433597)

Using its own form, I sent a message to Zango congratulating it on losing the lawsuit.

Why don't all of you do the same?

zango.com [zango.com]

Re:Congratulate Zango (1)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434047)

hehehe, Just did with the following:

I'm a computer support tech and have spent countless hours removing your ad/spyware from my clients machines, and I'd like to congratulate you on losing your lawsuit against Kaspersky Labs. May I suggest that you counsel your legal staff to let this drop, rather than wasting more of your money to appeal it. Since I use Kaspersky Labs products, and do not use yours, I'm glad a judge saw thru your arguments, and found in Kaspersky's favor. I'll now be able to continue to help my clients computers run significantly faster without your ad/spyware on their systems. And, by the way, since your legal staff seems to enjoy filing lawsuits, and should they decide to attempt to sue me, please remind them that I only remove your material AT THE REQUEST OF MY CLIENT...

Re:Congratulate Zango (2, Funny)

XSforMe (446716) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434321)

Here goes mine:

Thanks for easing my decision on which antivirus I'll be choosing. Kaspersky seems not only to be a lightweight antivirus program, but also an extremely accurate one!

Re:Congratulate Zango (1)

BillX (307153) | more than 7 years ago | (#20434549)

Heh, I don't recommend clicking this link if you use IE.

Re:Congratulate Zango (1)

Tycho (11893) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435265)

I would but there appears to be no way to send and detonate suitcase nukes though their form. Needless to say, I hate them and there software more than death. Zango pops up ads and, has a large memory footprint and can bring single core, midrange, Athlon 64 based computers to their knees. In the limited methods I used, using Add/Remove Programs, using their own removal app, running Spybot, running Spybot at Startup, ending the Zango process, deleting the in use Zango app, there seems to be no way to delete the Zango reliably aside from a total reformat and reinstall of Windows. Not only is the Zango software spyware of the absolute worst form, I think that they might kill puppies at Zango because of they are that evil. It is so insidious that I wonder if Zango writes itself into the Windows kernel.

However, I have a solution I think that someone, maybe even me, would be to make a Linux Live CD designed specifically to remove spyware. If I were really evil I would make the Live CD to remove Zango specifically and only Zango. Mounting a Windows partition would be the easy part I would use the FUSE NTFS-3G filesystem driver. I'm not sure but there must be some way to edit the Windows registry in Linux and some way to remove ActiveX Controls from IE in Linux. Maybe I am just the person to figure this out.

Re:Congratulate Zango (1)

Tycho (11893) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435393)

Yes, Yes, I know replying to my own comment, bad form. At any rate while this might or might not fix Zango I did find this which looks like an excellent tool/starting point for nuking Zango:
http://www.inside-security.de/insert_en.html [inside-security.de]

CDA (0, Redundant)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#20433823)

CDA is good? I'm confused.

Could be useful for spam, too (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 7 years ago | (#20435933)

Consider all the spammers who threaten to file lawsuits against people for blocking their spam.

I've personally received several such threats myself, but nothing ever came of them.

With this to help, it would seem that the spammers couldn't possibly win a lawsuit unless it was malicious.

There have been blacklists who have blocked people they knew weren't spammers for other reasons. This obviously wouldn't shield those actions.

Zango (2, Informative)

Khaed (544779) | more than 7 years ago | (#20437453)

I actually had to look up who they were, because I honestly had no idea. Not that I've never had to deal with spyware on a windows machine, just, I never paid enough attention to the names. I knew of Gator and Cool WWW Search by name before reading this.

I'm a little surprised they had the balls to bring a lawsuit about. Their hotbar apparently sends surfing habits back, they display pop ups, and it's somewhat of a bitch to uninstall -- my first question to their lawyers would be "So how are you NOT malware?"

Wonderful (1)

m3talocasnica (247894) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443017)

This is, indeed, good news. I can't respect vendors who use deceptive practices, like Zango seems to do.

R.E. Malware (1)

rat10177sd (963462) | more than 7 years ago | (#20443089)

Someone call me when it has the capability to Remove The Mother Of All Malware. I speak of course of Windows.

    Insert witty comment *here*. I'm fresh out of wit...

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