Cisco router firmware update invades user privacy
Ryan Martin / 5 years ago
When you buy a router, you expect it may need some updates from time to time to keep performance at its best and fix any errors. However, in the case of many Cisco/LinkSys customers, a recent update turned into a nightmare. Forcing users to subscribe to Cisco’s new cloud service or end up with a bricked device you certainly wouldn’t expect something that you paid for to be taken away.
Once you have been forced into joining the Cisco Cloud service, users were then greeted with two more shocks. The first, which was later retracted after huge public outcry, reads as follows:
When you use the Service, we may keep track of certain information related to your use of the Service, including but not limited to the status and health of your network and networked products; which apps relating to the Service you are using; which features you are using within the Service infrastructure; network traffic (e.g., megabytes per hour); internet history; how frequently you encounter errors on the Service system and other related information (“Other Information”).
Fancy that eh? Another company looking to snoop around your PC without you knowing (just like EA tried to do with Origin before retracting) and sell your information off to the relevant people. Well, they retracted that plan. So no harm done? Well no since in their terms and conditions they state they can change this policy again at any time (meaning they could just change it back).
If that wasn’t bad enough, Cisco/LinkSys dropped in another bombshell for its customers:
You agree not to use or permit the use of the Service: (i) to invade another’s privacy; (ii) for obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes; (iii) to infringe another’s rights, including but not limited to any intellectual property rights; (iv) to upload, email or otherwise transmit or make available any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, spam, junk mail or any other form of solicitation; (v) to transmit or otherwise make available any code or virus, or perform any activity, that could harm or interfere with any device, software, network or service (including this Service); or (vi) to violate, or encourage any conduct that would violate any applicable law or regulation or give rise to civil or criminal liability.
By using their Cloud Service you are now not allowed to watch pornographic content or download warez and torrented content that may be considered copy right infringement. Now, to cover our own backs, we are not advocating that you should watch porn and download warez, but we see no reason why Cisco should be allowed to tell you not to.
However, the saddest part for us is that thousands of customers globally will never even know about this update and what effects it has for them. Even sadder is the fact few of them will know how to revert back to the pre privacy-destroying-firmware and avoid ending up with a bricked router or criminal conviction after downloading warez and watching pornographic content which would have otherwise reaped no negative consequences for them.