Opinion: Kaspersky witch hunt continues via Twitter advertising ban

The fever-pitch of anti-Russia hysteria in the United States has claimed many, many innocent bystanders caught in the middle of a geopolitical pissing contest between corrupt governments (those being Putin’s Russia and Trump’s America). In what seems to only prove that point further is the constant pressure that the Department of Homeland Security has placed on Silicon Valley to turn its back on Kaspersky Lab due to unfounded and unproven ties to Russian espionage.

The latest development of this neo-McCarthyism is Twitter making the decision to ban all Kaspersky Lab advertising on its website. They are fully within their rights as a private entity to do so, but the only people this hurts are those who cybersecurity researchers are trying to protect.

In an open letter to Twitter, Kaspersky Lab had this to say on the matter:

Twitter is playing into the hands of cybercriminals when it hinders us providing users, for example, with timely, potentially important information on protection from cyber-extortionists (case in point: our top promoted tweet was one on the worldwide WannaCry ransomware attack).”

No matter what country we live in, the cybersecurity community is pledged to protect the masses. When the corporate oligarchy of Silicon Valley and corrupt governments of this world inhibit us from working together, it is civilians who suffer.

Kaspersky Lab, in particular, has proven to be a consistent source of excellent research and cybersecurity products that continue to hold the respect of our community. One example of this is the review from the website PCMag on Kaspersky Lab’s Anti-Virus software. Not only does the AV earn a 4.5/5 rating, PCMag has this to say on the political propaganda that the company is facing:

We are aware of the allegations of Kaspersky Lab’s inappropriate ties to the Russian government. Until we see some actual proof of these allegations, we will treat them as unproven, and continue to recommend Kaspersky’s security products as long as their performance continues to merit our endorsement.

Suppose that the world decided to punish Americans and American businesses for all of the atrocities that our government has committed? Would those on the right and left of this political nightmare suddenly change their tune and face their hypocrisy? As much as they hate to admit it, there is plenty that the international community could shun us for.

The United States has brutally deposed democratically elected leaders, such as Salvador Allende because we couldn’t handle a government existing that was unable to be controlled on our terms. We’ve dropped nuclear bombs on masses of civilians to end a war with Japan (a war my family fought in) that could have been solved diplomatically. We have brutalized civil rights activists (such as Martin Luther King Jr. or the Black Panthers) in the past via COINTELPRO and in the present by FBI actions (against Black Lives Matter) that mirror such operations of old. We have bombed hospitals in numerous parts of the Middle East and dismissed the actions as merely a byproduct of war rather than the war crime they were.

These examples are just some of many more that I could list. If the world chose to boycott anything American based on our crimes, imagine the outrage. Imagine the cries of “we had nothing to do with that” from the general public. Do civilians in any country, in this case, Russia, deserve the same fate because of the current investigations into their government? Especially if these boycotts do more to play into the hands of cybercriminals and cyberterrorists?

In times like these the cybersecurity community, and the IT community as a whole, must stand together and not allow the selfish, imperialistic aims of politicians prevent us from doing our jobs. History will be their judge, but it will also be ours. We cannot allow the mistakes of the past to affect the future any longer.

Photo credit: Flickr / Tyler Menezes

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