Kaspersky: Government snooping doesn't go far enough

Kaspersky chief executive says current internet monitoring doesn't go far enough

Darien Graham-Smith
28 Apr 2009

The chief executive of Kaspersky Lab has laughed off fears the UK's becoming a Big Brother state, claiming the Government's plans to monitor internet communications don't go far enough.

Speaking exclusively to PC Pro at the Infosec conference, Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, admitted to being bemused by the outcry that has greeted recent UK Government proposals to monitor internet usage.

"There is no anonymity on the internet," he explains. "ISPs already collect data, such as IP addresses and connections, and if the police request that information they have to disclose it. And I think that's a step on the way to the secure cyberspace we need, so that if someone behaves the wrong way on the internet, we have records."

Acknowledging that IP addresses and MAC addresses can be spoofed, Kaspersky suggested that the next step should be a physical identifier - such as a USB key - that enables ISPs to positively confirm the identity of the person using the PC.

"In my hotel room I have a passport to access the international transport network. I have a driving licence so I can access the road network. I have credit cards that let me access the financial network. In every other public network I already have physical ID. To monitor the internet so closely would be a positive step," he says.

Kaspersky was educated at the KGB-sponsored Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications and Computer Science, but waved away concerns over the potential for state abuse of such technology: "The Government is not a Big Brother which wants to watch everyone - and taxation is not high enough to have such a budget."

Kaspersky was, however, emphatic that his company would not collude with government-sponsored attempts to install surveillance software on client PCs: "We detect everything because we care about customers in different countries."

"British customers won't be happy if we don't detect, for example, German policeware and our German customers will complain if we don't detect British policeware."

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