Cisco backtracks on cloud-based router strategy

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A consumer backlash has forced networking giant Cisco to drop plans to force users to manage their home routers from the cloud.

The vendor had previously forced through an update on two of its home routers, the EA4500 and the EA2700, to upgrade to the company's "Cisco Cloud Connect" service.

But the cloud-based wireless router management tool prompted a plethora of privacy complaints from disgruntled users.

The firm received complaints about its requests for personal data and its updated terms of service that barred customers from using the web for "obscene, pornographic, or offensive purposes". It was also claimed the change would allow Cisco to snoop on people's online activity.

Despite attempts to quash these fears, the company has now conceded, announcing that Cisco Cloud Connect will no longer be the default management tool for the router's advanced settings.

Cisco's home vice president, Brett Wingo, confirmed the move in a blog post: "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."

While customers are no longer forced to sign up to the cloud service, the on-premise router management doesn't have the advanced settings that the cloud service offers.

Cisco said customers could now downgrade their routers to the previous version, but hasn't made it clear whether these downgrades will get any firmware updates in the future.

"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 nternet," Wingo added.

"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."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.