Friday, July 6, 2012
Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM
"We told you earlier today about how Cisco is pushing a cloud-based WiFi router management service onto customers of certain Linksys devices—and that to use the service customers must agree to a list of anti-porn and anti-piracy clauses. The trouble is that for customers with automatic firmware updates turned on, the traditional (and very useful) router management tools available in a Web browser at the address 192.168.1.1 became completely unavailable. Instead, you had to sign up for Cisco’s cloud service, roll back your firmware, or just forget about using advanced router management features."
Cisco has since reversed their position on forcing you to use their cloud connected service, but the issue remains that a company could do this. While I wonder how many people this actually affected, the idea that a company could fundamentally change something you own is disconcerting and in particular, their service agreement which outlined what you could or could not do with the new service they have imposed on you. This issue does go beyond your own router, but to many services. Lots of people use web services such as Gmail, or Facebook or Twitter. Every one of those companies has the ability to change their service and limit what you can do.
The biggest lesson learned is to make sure you have control over your own data. In particular, if you use any of the above services, make sure you have a copy of it (there are many ways) for yourself so that if a company blocks you out, the affect on you is minimized. As for Cisco's kerfuffle, that is just one reason why I use an alternate firmware, dd-wrt, to handle my internet connection.