The DerbyCon security conference reminded us of an important AV-Comparatives advantage. In his keynote speech John Strand stated that “researchers are terrified that they are going to get sued”. At AV-Comparatives we have some experience with security firms threatening to go to court to prevent publish our (independent) test report. One vendor for example tried to prevent us publishing our Next Gen endpoint protection test results by publicly announcing to sue one of our partners.
Maybe other researchers are terrified, but at AV-Comparatives we take these threats with a big spoon of salt, because we have the advantage of being protected by Austrian Law. So terrified is somewhat exaggerated after the lost lawsuit against NSS Labs and the Consumer Review Fairness Act. Some ‘review bullies’ apply a new tactic to control and ban product reviews.
Some security software vendors now claim the publishing rights of product tests in their EULA’s. Publishing those test without their consent, deems the content “unlawful”. This content could be removed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Instead of going to court, they can use copyrights protection tools to remove the content. We have not seen vendors using this tactic yet, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fears this might be a loophole in US law.
This possible loophole in US-law brings us back to our advantage: we are an Austrian based company. In Europe consumer interest is generally better protected than in the US. Austria has one of the best consumer protection legislation within Europe.
As long as we serve the interest of the consumers we can test products and publish reports, no matter what the EULA states. It is our mission to check whether security software, lives up to its promises. Consumers have the right to get unbiased results from professional testing laboratories. As long as we exist we will be publishing these tests.
The theme of the DerbyCon security conference was heritage. AV-Comparatives has been testing and evaluating security software for years. Independent security software testing is our heritage. As long as there is malware, we will be testing security software and will be publishing the results. We won’t let vendors get away with bad testing results by threatening with law suits or court action. AV-Comparatives Antivirus product testing is our heritage and our future.