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UPDATED: Microsoft Decides to Allow Email Security Notices After All

microsoft ceasing email security updates

UPDATE: It seems Microsoft has already changed its mind about discontinuing regular email security updates. ArsTechnica and other media outlets are now reporting [1] sources at Microsoft have rethought the decision announced recently. Email updates will continue, apparently. For more background, read our original post below.

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If you’ve learned to rely on regular security updates via email from Microsoft…well, you may be out of luck.

A notification from Microsoft security to IT professionals explained recently [2]:

“As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is suspending the use of email notifications that announce the following:

* Security bulletin advance notifications
* Security bulletin summaries
* New security advisories and bulletins
* Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins”

That phrase about “changing governmental policies” may refer to a new Canadian anti-spam law [3] which also went into effect July 1.

Technically, the law is supposed to protect Canadian citizens from phishing, identity theft and spyware

But, in practice, the law goes quite a bit further.

It requires all companies sending commercial electronic messages — including email, text messages, social media, IM and voice messages — to obtain prior permission from recipients in Canada.

The law does allow a three year grace period for companies already engaged in emailing or messaging to Canadian accounts giving them the time to obtain the necessary permission .

But after that, violators — even companies located outside the country — could face harsh penalties including fines of up to $10 million (in Canadian Dollar rates) and even private civil suits.

Microsoft may be thinking not only of this law but also of the changing sentiments towards privacy and permission all over the world in making the policy change. No further explanation was given in the Microsoft notification.

So, how are Microsoft customers in Canada and throughout the world to keep  up with the latest security updates from one of the world’s leading tech companies?

Actually, Microsoft recommends visiting its Technical Security Notifications page [4] and subscribing to the appropriate RSS feed.

Or check the company’s regularly updated security bulletins [5] for the latest information.

Microsoft [6] Photo via Shutterstock