Lots more activity for us today around WGA’s ‘emergency switch’. Allison Linn wrote an Associated Press article that is responsible for most of the pick-up the story has seen. As of this evening Google News is showing over eighty articles related to this issue though many appear to be reprints of the AP article. A Microsoft PressPass article has been posted that explains in more detail how WGA Notifications and in particular the feature that checks for version information. In particular the below Q&A from the PressPass article I think addresses the main concern of most of the blogging and articles that we have seen in the last few days.

Q: What happens when WGA Notifications communicates with Microsoft when a PC is booted up? Why is this function a part of WGA Notifications?

A: The pilot version of this software periodically contacts Microsoft after validation. The software checks whether a newer settings file is available and downloads the file if one is found. The settings file gives Microsoft the ability to update how often reminders are displayed and to disable the program if necessary during the test period. Unlike validation, which sends system information to Microsoft, this operation is limited to the download of the new settings file. No additional information is sent to Microsoft.