Kaspersky, the Russian cybersecurity company accused of helping the Kremlin spy on the U.S. intelligence agencies as part of its 2016 election meddling, has launched a new product aimed at helping secure online voting and make elections more transparent and open. Polys, an online voting platform built using the same blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin, allows anyone to conduct “secure, anonymous, and scalable online voting with results that cannot be altered by participants or organizers,” the company said. Kaspersky is already speaking to a number of “politicians and political organizations in Europe” about using the system, and it says that countries in western Europe, Scandinavia and Asia are technologically and mentally ready to make the change to online voting. But one place Kaspersky will not be hawking Polys is Washington.
“I am a realist and I just don’t want to put salt in the open wound,” Anton Shingarev, director of government relations at Kaspersky Lab, told VICE News. “We are not going to push it in the U.S.”
Multiple U.S. intelligence sources claimed in the last month that Kaspersky uploaded sensitive NSA files — including source code for hacking tools — to its Moscow servers before sharing the documents with the Kremlin. The Trump administration has since barred government agencies from using Kaspersky’s antivirus products — though without explicitly saying what the company had done wrong.
“I cannot even explain how disappointed and frustrated and worried I am,” Shingarev said, adding: “The problem is that we need to develop together because we are right now stuck in the dark, we don’t know where to move. If we were given any hint or suggestion, fine.”