For those of you on the Web who have used Microsoft’s email client Outlook to open and receive emails from someone else without their permission, you may be startled by news today. An end-to-end privacy shutdown is being implemented on the emails of you and mine, the first set of which has been sent to me. All of the other emails are being frozen for up to five days, for security purposes.
I was able to get through to Microsoft officials on the subject, who asked that I remove the term “spam” from the message I received, and they reassured me that this was a temporary situation and that when the period passes, the spam folder will be cleaned up. So, the ISP and the OS are in effect freezing the emails as security purposes continue.
Some users, of course, won’t think that this is silly; they just wait for the next email to be sent to them and assume it is junk. Others, however, may think they’ve been visited by a number of foreign governments, and the ability to block a project by this broad definition of spam is worthy of discussion. Still others may think the plans are foolish, because they’re actually a huge advance for the existing OS — there’s no reason a new service could not open an email so quickly after having the settings set. It would be reminiscent of the nature of spam filters that see incoming mail as dirty and under their purview and stop it from getting there.
In the context of this lawsuit, this is not only another tool to combat rampant spam, it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s a smart business decision. Microsoft’s move may not be friendly to the wider Internet, but at least it’s working. It will cause some to feel somewhat uneasy when spam isn’t appearing in their mail inbox (and in Microsoft’s case, any email that “ephemerally” appears in their system). Their flexibility helps them.