Belkin disables router spamming feature

Gracious climb down

Belkin, the consumer networking and connectivity firm, has promised customers a firmware upgrade to disable a controversial 'spamming' feature built into its routers.

As first reported on The Reg last week, the feature hijacks random HTTP requests every eight hours and redirects users to a page advertising Belkin's parental control software. There is an opt-out link but that failed to appease Net users who accused Belkin of creating a new mechanism for spam.

In response the negative user feedback, Belkin is to give users the option of disabling the feature.

In an announcement on its home page, Belkin said: "In response to a recent Usenet group posting stating that Belkin spams its customers through its routers, Belkin Corporation apologizes for the concern this has caused and is taking action to address the issue.

"To allay customers’ worries, Belkin will offer a firmware upgrade that will be available via download from its website (www.belkin.com) on November 17, 2003. This upgrade will rid the redirect completely so that no additional browser windows will appear during the router’s installation process. Questions can be directed to our dedicated networking customer support line at 877-736-5771 or e-mailed to kannynmc@belkin.com," it added.

While we might question Belkin's initial thinking, the company deserves credit for backing down gracefully in the face of widespread public criticism. ®

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