Compliance Management, Network Security, Privacy

Microsoft wavers on Canadian spam fears

Microsoft has reconsidered a move to cease security emails in Canada, following the introduction of an anti-spam law north of the border.

The company had originally intended to stop sending email notifications of its monthly security bulletins, as Canada's anti-spam law came into effect. The law, passed in 2010, became effective July 1 and prohibits the sending of commercial email without explicit consent from recipients.

Canada's anti-spam legislation is one of the most aggressive in the world, with potential fines of up to $10 million for companies contravening the rules. It requires senders to obtain opt-in permission from recipients. The law is administered by the Canadian Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Microsoft announced on June 27 that it would stop sending the email notices, which warn security administrators that updates to its software are on the way. It confirmed that the move was “due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging”

Anti-spam campaigners were baffled by the move. Transactional email that is part of a warranty is allowed under the new law, meaning that there was no reason to stop sending the emails, said Neil Schwartzman, executive director of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email in Canada.

Microsoft reviewed its processes, and resumed the notification service on July 3.

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