Kaspersky to move from Russia to Switzerland after spying allegations | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 15.05.2018
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Kaspersky to move from Russia to Switzerland after spying allegations

The Moscow-based anti-virus maker is to open a Swiss data center after allegations that Russian hackers exploited the software to spy on customers. The firm told DW the new location would help it "rebuild trust."

Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab said on Tuesday it was moving its core infrastructure and operations to Switzerland after being accused by Western authorities of helping the Russian government to spy on its users.

Kaspersky told DW that the new facility, which will open next year in Zurich, is a "big and complex project" that would allow it to "address customer concerns" by "moving some of our data storage and processing to a neutral region."

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Switzerland 'best solution'

"We considered several locations for our first Transparency Center, and Switzerland most closely met our criteria as well as our policy of complete neutrality," Stefan Rojacher, Kaspersky Lab's corporate communications and public affairs manager said.

Rojacher said the firm valued Switzerland's robust approach to data protection legislation.

Last year, the US, Britain and Lithuania advised government agencies, companies and private users to stop using Kaspersky's software, citing security concerns.

Western governments have been increasingly worried that the Moscow-based Kaspersky is subject to Russian laws that could oblige it to comply with Russian state interests.

Washington has accused the firm of working with Russia's intelligence agencies, and that in one case, Russian-backed hackers stole confidential data from the home computer of a National Security Agency contractor.

In December, Barclays, one of Britain's big four banks, said it would stop distributing Kaspersky's anti-virus software for free to customers "as a precaution," after advice from the UK's MI6 intelligence agency.

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Earlier this month, the Dutch government said it would phase out the use of anti-virus software made by Kaspersky and advised companies that supplied critical services to follow suit.

Firm denies link to intelligence agencies

Kaspersky has repeatedly denied that its products have "backdoors" that Russian spies could exploit. It promised to take measures to reassure customers about the safety of its products.

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The new Swiss transparency lab will be home to customer data storage and processing for most of Kaspersky's 400 million users as well as software assembly.

Data of customers from the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia will be moved first, followed by other countries.

The company said similar centers would be opened in North America and Asia by 2020.

mm/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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