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State AG's to Consumers: Here's Your Swiss-Cheese Security Program

on 5/9/02.

"Consumers are likely to face higher security costs due to increased risks of viruses and hackers," concluded Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) vice president Erick Gustafson following the testimony of Virginia professor Kenneth Elzinga. "Far from providing additional consumer benefit, the non-settling states so-called remedy is going to result in confusion, chaos, and a better environment for criminals. Perhaps I've just missed why this is good for consumers, but it really appears as though the states' proposal is designed to benefit Microsoft's competitors," he continued.

According to Computer Economics, security threats cost more than $13 billion last year alone -- one virus, Code Red, cost consumers and businesses nearly $3 billion. In an environment of increasing security risks, the non-settling states proposal would weaken existing security platforms and create disincentives for further innovation that might stifle malicious code and hackers.

"The transparency of the intentions of these AG's is disturbing," said Gustafson. "It is clear that they aim to protect the interests of the large corporations that compete with Microsoft and make campaign contributions."

There never was a good time to pursue this baseless suit, but continuing it now threatens to undermine early signs of recovery, as well as increase the severity of the technology sector's two-year decline. While less than perfect, the settlement reached between Microsoft, the Justice Department, and 9 states should be the last chapter in this case. CSE strongly encourages all parties to end this lawsuit.