Recently, Trend Micro received a request for information from Bits of Freedom that was sent to us and fourteen other security companies. Bits of Freedom asked four specific questions around our interactions with governments in regard to our detections of surveillance software.
Let me first address these inquiries directly:
1. Have you ever detected the use of software by any government (or state actor) for the purpose of surveillance? – Yes.
2. Have you ever been approached with a request by a government, requesting that the presence of specific software is not detected, or if detected, not notified to the user of your software? And if so, could you provide information on the legal basis of this request, the specific kind of software you were supposed to allow and the period of time which you were supposed to allow this use? – No.
3. Have you ever granted such a request? If so, could you provide the same information as in the point mentioned above and the considerations which led to the decision to comply with the request from the government? – No.
4. Could you clarify how you would respond to such a request in the future? – We would respond by declining to comply with such a request.
I also want to take this opportunity to make clear that Trend Micro’s products have no backdoors, key escrows, or other mechanisms that would enable government agencies, or third-parties, to directly access data.
Trend Micro is truly a global company in terms of our people, locations, operations and most of all perspective. We work closely with governments and law enforcement agencies around the world. But, we do so for the sole purpose of protecting our customers from malicious and unwanted software. We would never comply with requests that could compromise customers’ trust in us. It runs contrary to our belief system and why we are in business in the first place.
In short, Trend Micro will not violate the integrity of our customers’ security or data because that is simply unethical. This is an extremely personal matter for me and as such you have my word that we will remain true to this basic principle.