Microsoft has announced that it is to suspend its security notification email service with near-immediate effect, in apparent response to changes in unsolicited email laws in Canada.
Microsoft has suspended its security mailing list, established in 2002, following changes to Canada's anti-spam laws that can lead to millions in fines for proven breaches.
Microsoft's long-running notification service keeps subscribers informed of impending security patch releases, provides summaries of new patch releases, alerts for other security-related topics and warns when advisories or bulletins have been modified - such as to withdraw a faulty patch, or to extend the affected product list when research suggests a vulnerability is more widespread than previously suspected. It's a useful service, but one the company is retiring effective tomorrow.
Microsoft has claimed that the service is closing down due to 'due to changing governmental policies concerning the issuance of automated electronic messaging
' - an apparent reference to modifications made to Canada's anti-spam laws. System administrators, security researchers and others who like to keep abreast of the latest threats to Microsoft's products are asked to subscribe to RSS feeds available through the official website
in place of the email notification lists.
The mailing list was established in 2002, and came into regular use in 2003 when Microsoft switched to its famous Patch Tuesday monthly release cycle. Under said cycle, subscribers would receive notification at least a week in advance of the Patch Tuesday releases detailing exactly what patches would be released, rated by severity, giving them time to plan the roll-out of the patches across an enterprise domain.
UPDATE 1st July 2014
Microsoft has announced that it has decided to reinstate the security mailing list, effective from the 3rd of July. No reason for its volte-face has been provided.