Canada bans automatic software installations

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Canada bans automatic software installations

Kosher code caught by anti-malware law.

Canada's expanded anti-spam legislation, with a provision that stipulates users must give their consent before software can be installed on their devices, is now in effect.

Starting today, any business operating in the country and which wishes to install software on users' devices - computers, tablets, and smartphones - must have explicit consent to do so.

Failure to gain the consent makes the software installation illegal, and those who fail to do so can be fined up to C$10 million (A$10.1 million).

The amendment to the anti-spam law is intended to target malware, to protect consumers and to create greater awareness around the problem of malicious applications.

Businesses wanting to install software on users' devices must also disclose if any personal information is collected, or if the code would interfere with the normal operation of the computer. 

Sample software installation consent screen compliant with Canada's anti-spam law

Under the new law users must also be informed if the software changes any settings or preferences on a device or if third parties are allowed access to it.

Lawyers warned in October last year that the amended legislation was "overreaching" as it doesn't focus specifically on mal- and spyware, and may catch legitimate software installations and updates as well.

Although operating systems are exempted under the new law along with browser cookies, hyper text mark up language and Javascript for web pages, software updates and upgrades can only be installed automatically if users had previously consented.

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