Cisco backs down, drops cloud from default router settings

Cisco backs down, drops cloud from default router settings

Summary: Cisco faced backlash over its abrupt decision to update the embedded software on some its routers, but now has backed down on compulsory cloud management.

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TOPICS: Networking, Wi-Fi
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Cisco faced a consumer-driven backlash over its abrupt decision to update the embedded software on some its home Wi-Fi routers so that customer services were managed through a cloud service over the Internet. 

As part of the plan, the firmware found on two of its home router selections -- the EA4500 and the EA2700 -- were tied to the "Cisco Connect Cloud." However, the cloud-based Wi-Fi router management service raised a rapid storm of complaint from customers.

Some of the concerns raised included privacy issues -- such as Cisco's requests for personal data after the firmware update -- whereas others found the small print clauses disconcerting. Questions were raised, and some customers believed the updated terms of service not only barred them from online use aimed at "obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes.", but also potentially monitored what they were up to online. 

Over the past week, the company did its best to quell these concerns, but its efforts have not been enough -- until now. In a blog post, Cisco's home VP Brett Wingo has stated that Cisco Connect Cloud will no longer be the default management system for advance router settings. The blog says:

"In response to our customers' concerns, we have simplified the process for opting-out of the Cisco Connect Cloud service and have changed the default setting back to traditional router set-up and management."

In a nutshell, customers are now not required to sign up for the service, and can still manage their router through the current local management software. However, this is still some elements of doubt in terms of advanced features management, since the local software -- disc-distributed with the router -- does have its limitations.

Cisco recommends that customers roll their firmware back to the previous version to strip out the cloud function and retain local tools. It was not entirely clear whether the rollback would prevent customers who preferred local consoles to miss out on firmware updates, but the company has told Arstechnica:

"If a customer chooses to use the Embedded Web UI and selects the Auto-Update feature, Cisco will offer them an update. Currently the only update we have is for the Cisco Connect Cloud feature set, but in future, we plan to provide updates for the embedded Web UI feature set specifically.

In other words, a customer will be able to choose an embedded web UI without having to use the cloud system. For those with privacy concerns, the next declaration in the blog post is most important:

"Cisco will not arbitrarily disconnect customers from the Cisco Connect Cloud service based on how they are using the Internet. Cisco Connect Cloud and Cisco Linksys routers do not monitor or store information about how our customers are using the Internet and we do not arbitrarily disconnect customers from the Internet.
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."

Those that are having trouble switching back can call a support line, and online instructions have been provided.

Topics: Networking, Wi-Fi

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7 comments
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  • cloud

    you did right Cisco Connect shut dow the cloud it is not safe at all
    ttx19
  • Good

    Now if everyone else will drop the cloud, we'll all be safer.
    Doc.Savage
  • Bravo Cisco

    It's good to see a large organization like Cisco take consumer opinions to heart. Responding quickly with meaningful changes is what makes for loyal customers.
    gregoryg
  • I still dont trust Cisco. And it will take a lot to gain any trust back.

    Sorry nice back-peddle attempt BUT still not good enough.
    You want our trust again here are some suggestions.
    1. Have the person or people who came up and supported this idea publicly fired.
    2. Guarantee the following:
    a. When we buy any hardware from your company or any of its subsidiaries you understand and agree that WE OWN THAT HARDWARE. We did NOT rent it from you we bought it.
    b You will respect our privacy. Our information and lives are not a commodity created for you to sell or give away in any way shape and or form. And this includes sending our info to any other company, individual or Government. As a matter of fact you should NOT be collecting any information about any of your customers that can be traced to a customer. PERIOD.
    c. You will never FORCE anyone who has paid for your products to upgrade to anything. You can offer upgrades and leave it up to the customer to decide if they want the upgrade or not.
    d. You will never downgrade any function of the hardware we bought. If you cant sustainably offer a function DONT OFFER IT. Or offer it as an additional service that can be opted into.
    e. You will offer OPT INS instead of OPT OUTS. I shouldn't have to be up to date on all of the news about your company just to make sure you are not pulling some service or adding something I dont want. Make me aware of any changes and then let me decide if I want to OPT IN or not.
    3. Treat your customers with respect. We are not your cash cows just waiting to be milked. We are not your guinea pigs here so you can do experiments with your latest pet project. We are not some kind of information garden planted here so you can sell our private information at market.
    4. I have a mother and a father. I dont need anymore parents. If I decide to watch a movie where 3 midgets, a goat and an miniature albino elephant are getting it on in a pit full of Grape Goobers PB & J, it's none of your damn business. It that offends you go home and clutch your bible or whatever holy book you own to your chest and repeat...It's only the internet....It's only the internet....It's only the internet.... You'll get over it.
    Or we could just buy our hardware from people who think that their job is SELLING US HARDWARE.
    Also I noticed the new policy says "Cisco will not arbitrarily disconnect customers from the Cisco Connect Cloud service based on how they are using the Internet."
    Why that wording?
    "Cisco will not arbitrarily disconnect customers"
    How about wording it this way ""Cisco will not disconnect customers from the Cisco Connect Cloud service based on how they are using the Internet."
    The way they have it worded makes me think they will disconnect customers then say it wasn't arbitrarily done, that there was a process that they went through and then disconnected the customer.
    JohnRoss1968
    • PS...

      Should it feel strange for a guy to have an internet crush on someone named Charlie?
      JohnRoss1968
  • Cisco not only one with unnecessary SOHO device cloud management

    We were going to buy one of Seagate's Black Armour NASs when I discovered that to use the device we had to use a Seagate cloud ID to manage the device, which means that a US company would have the information necessary to access our device in Australia. Patriot Act fingers anyone?

    We DON'T have a Seagate NAS!!
    Patanjali
    • Any data can be logged!

      Wake up folks, we're in the PUBLIC internet world.

      If it's wanted, ANY data from ANY router can be logged to ANY server in the PUBLIC internet world, PERIOD!

      If big brother wants the data, big brother gets the data, using hardware and software. Laws are being made right now by big brother to get ANY data. The internet providers will have no choice but to follow the law or not exist, PERIOD.

      Watching a movie with 3 midgets, a goat and ..., will not get your door busted down.

      I would rather try to prevent disasters before they occur, even if big bother needs to filter. Our safety is much more important than reacting to something that may have been prevented.

      Get used to it .... more to come!
      toddwturner@...