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Microsoft backtracks on canceling Patch Tuesday emails

Microsoft backtracks on canceling Patch Tuesday emails
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

OK so maybe the short work week has Microsoft all confused.

Microsoft announced earlier this week that it would stop sending emails reminding its customers about Patch Tuesday. That's the day, the first Tuesday of the month, when Microsoft sends out fixes, or "patches," for its software.

Why? Microsoft was blaming Canada.

It said that a new Canadian anti-spam law that took effect July 1, would prevent them from sending out the notices.

Microsoft said this:

Notice to IT professionals:

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

Microsoft said that it was concerned with the penalties for sending out email that could be considered spam - fines of up to $10 million.

The reality is, the Canadian law never would apply to Microsoft. The law exempts email about warranty and product safety and security alerts.

Board member Jeff Williams [of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email], a former group program manager at Microsoft’s Malware Protection Center, [said] that Microsoft’s decision likely could be attributed to having come out of a tough choice rather than a lack of legal understanding or grey matter:

"I can imagine the discussion and wondering among the lawyers and [Microsoft] whether they should try to get hundreds of millions of opt-ins before June 30 or if they should change the way they share info. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but I wouldn’t call it an overreaction."

Overreaction or not, Microsoft has relented. Now, those notifications will be going out after all.

Not sure how to get these updates? Here's my handy guide to Microsoft updates.

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