Do antivirus apps ignore US government spyware?

Companies that produce security software may soon be ignoring certain spyware, and potentially even infecting their customers through auto updates, under orders from US government agencies.

A very disquieting idea, as I certainly have no trust of government anywhere.

A couple of excerpts:

Most of the companies surveyed, which covered the range from tiny firms to Symantec and IBM, said they never had received such a court order. The full list of companies surveyed: AVG/Grisoft, Computer Associates, Check Point, eEye, IBM, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Microsoft, Sana Security, Sophos, Symantec, Trend Micro and Websense. Only McAfee and Microsoft flatly declined to answer that question.

This isn’t exactly a new question. After the last high-profile case in which federal agents turned to a key logger, some security companies allegedly volunteered to ignore fedware. The Associated Press reported in 2001 that “McAfee contacted the FBI… to ensure its software wouldn’t inadvertently detect the bureau’s snooping software.” McAfee subsequently said the report was inaccurate.

Later that year, the FBI confirmed that it was creating spy software called “Magic Lantern” that would allow agents to inject keystroke loggers remotely through a virus without having physical access to the computer. (In both the recent Ecstasy case and the earlier key logging case involving an alleged mobster, federal agents obtained court orders authorising them to break into buildings to install key loggers.)

Any thoughts?

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