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Cisco backs down on cloud control of routers

Full reverse-ferret over Linksys 'upgrade'

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Cisco has completed its climb-down over who gets to control Linksys routers, it or the people who bought them.

At the start of this week, Cisco updated the firmware of the Linksys EA4500, EA3500, and EA2700 routers so that they could be fully configured using only its Connect Cloud service rather than via local management software, excluding functions such as parental controls and USB storage.

This understandably had a number of users rather peeved, with some raising security concerns about the cloud service and others pointing out that the terms and conditions of the Connect Cloud service seemed rather broad, granting Cisco the right to monitor traffic and internet usage and share it with third-parties as it liked, as well as the right to disconnect service.

In a blog post, GM of Cisco Home Networking Brett Wingo said that the company had taken heed and was clarifying the issue once and for all. The router firmware default will be changed to back to traditional local set-up and management (with a Connect Cloud option), and Cisco wouldn’t automatically push firmware upgrades unless the user selected that option.

Cisco is also changing the terms and conditions of Cloud Connect in light of concerns over data storage and retention policies. The routers won't store or transmit data about what users do online, nor will Cisco pull the plug on them arbitrarily.

"The Cisco Connect Cloud service has never monitored customers’ internet usage, nor was it designed to do so, and we will clarify this in an update to the terms of service," Wingo said. "I sincerely apologize on behalf of the Cisco team for the inconvenience we have caused. I assure you we will update our terms of service and related documentation as quickly as possible to accurately reflect our company policy and values." ®

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