Russian internet security company Kaspersky Lab plans to open a data center in Switzerland to address Western government concerns that Russia exploits its anti-virus software to spy on customers, internal company documents show.
The move comes in response to actions in the United States, Britain, and Lithuania last year to stop using the company’s products, Reuters reports.
The plan for a data center is the latest effort by Kaspersky, a global leader in anti-virus software, to parry accusations by the U.S. government and others that the company spies on customers at the behest of Russian intelligence. The U.S. last year ordered civilian government agencies to remove the Kaspersky software from their networks.
Kaspersky has strongly rejected the accusations and filed a lawsuit against the U.S. ban.
The U.S. allegations were the “trigger” for setting up the Swiss data center, said a person familiar with Kaspersky’s Switzerland plans, but not the only factor.
“To further deliver on the promises of our Global Transparency Initiative, we are finalizing plans for the opening of the company’s first transparency center this year, which will be located in Europe,” Kaspersky Lab said in a statement.
Western security officials said Russia’s FSB Federal Security Service, successor to the Soviet-era KGB, exerts influence over Kaspersky management decisions, though the company has repeatedly denied those allegations.
The Swiss center will collect and analyze files identified as suspicious on the computers of tens of millions of Kaspersky customers in the United States and European Union, according to the documents reviewed by Reuters. Data from other customers will continue to be sent to a Moscow data center for review and analysis.
Files would only be transmitted from Switzerland to Moscow in cases when anomalies are detected that require manual review, the person said, adding that about 99.6 percent of such samples do not currently undergo this process.