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Cisco Pushes New Cloud Firmware Without Customer Approval
Then Informs You They Can Track and Sell Network Data
by Karl Bode 12:43PM Friday Jun 29 2012
Reddit users have noticed that Cisco has started automatically pushing the company's new "Cloud Connect" firmware update to consumer routers -- without customer approval. Annoyed users note that the update won't let consumers directly log into their routers anymore -- they have to register for a new Cloud Connect account. The only way to revert to directly accessing the device you paid for? You have to unplug it from the Internet.

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As an additional annoyance, the terms of service for the new Cloud Connect service give Cisco the right to track and sell your network traffic and Internet activity to third parties:
...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"). We use this Other Information to help us quickly and efficiently respond to inquiries and requests, and to enhance or administer our overall Service for our customers.

We may also use this Other Information for traffic analysis (for example, determining when the most customers are using the Service) and to determine which features within the Service are most or least effective or useful to you. In addition, we may periodically transmit system information to our servers in order to optimize your overall experience with the Service. We may share aggregated and anonymous user experience information with service providers, contractors or other third parties...
Some users who don't want the firmware update are being told that there's nothing Cisco can do, while others are being directed to manually roll back their firmware if they don't like the new service or TOS (meaning you won't get useful future upgrades). One gets the sense that the backlash to this rather presumptuous move is going to start really rolling once it gets a full head of media steam. It's just one more reason to install third party router firmware -- assuming your device can run it.

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