Cisco locks customers out of their own routers, only lets them back in if they agree to being spied upon and monetized
Owners of Cisco/Linksys home routers got a nasty shock this week, when their devices automatically downloaded a new operating system, which locked out device owners. After the update, the only way to reconfigure your router was to create an account on Cisco's "cloud" service, signing up to a service agreement that gives Cisco the right to spy on your Internet use and sell its findings, and also gives them the right to disconnect you (and lock you out of your router) whenever they feel like it.
They say that "if you're not paying for the product, you are the product." But increasingly, even if you do pay for the product, you're still the product, and you aren't allowed to own anything. Ownership is a right reserved to synthetic corporate persons, and off-limits to us poor meat-humans.
Joel Hruska from ExtremeTech reports:
This is nothing but a shameless attempt to cash in on the popularity of cloud computing, and it comes at a price. The Terms and Conditions of using the Cisco Connect Cloud state that Cisco may unilaterally shut down your account if finds that you have used the service for “obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes, to infringe another’s rights, including but not limited to any intellectual property rights, or… to violate, or encourage any conduct that would violate any applicable law or regulation or give rise to civil or criminal liability.”
It then continues “we reserve the right to take such action as we (i) deem necessary or (ii) are otherwise required to take by a third party or court of competent jurisdiction, in each case in relation to your access or use or misuse of such content or data. Such action may include, without limitation, discontinuing your use of the Service immediately without prior notice to you, and without refund or compensation to you.”
Since the Service is the only way to access your router, killing one would effectively kill the other.
Oh, and Cisco reserves the right to continue to update your router, even if you set it not to allow automatic updates.
However, the current policy reserves the right to change it back.
The current policy also allows Cisco to discontinue your access to your router if you download pornography, or if someone complains about you, without a court order, evidence or a chance to state your case and face your accuser.
They have also provided users with a way to back out of the "cloud management" "feature."
But, as noted, Cisco still reserves the right to change how your router works, even if you set it not to accept automatic updates.
As game companies start to add conditions to their EULAs that prohibit class action suits for their negligence in handling your personal data, a collective of gamers called Gamers Opt Out have created a service that makes it easy to mail printed opt-outs from these conditions.
Individual lawsuits against game companies that harm their users through poor security practices are limited to those victims with the money and time to pursue them. Prohibiting class-action suits effectively kills the business model that consumer protection laws rely on: plaintiff-side attorneys who can recoup the millions it costs to sue companies for their transgressions and act as a check against corporate misdeeds.
Gamers Opt Out is a collective of gamers who are sick of absurd EULAs from game companies. These EULAs have clauses preventing class-action lawsuits, though you can opt out of the clauses by sending a letter. We want to make it easier for everyone to opt out because Sony, EA, et al, believe most people won't bother to. Let's show them they're wrong.
We will make it easy for you to create the letter needed to send to these companies and can even send the letter on your behalf at no cost. All we ask is that if you like what we are doing, spread the word or donate to help with the cost of paper and postage.