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UPDATE: Answering Our Customers’ Questions about Cisco Connect Cloud

Since my last blog post, we’ve continued to receive questions about the service, privacy, and in particular the service terms of Cisco Connect Cloud.  We believe lack of clarity in our own terms of service has contributed to many of our customers’ concerns, and we apologize for the confusion and inconvenience this has caused.  We take responsibility for that lack of clarity, and we are taking steps to make this right.

I would like to address the top issues we’ve heard about the service, and terms of service, and clarify Cisco’s commitment to our customers’ privacy and security.

Linksys customers are not required to sign-up for the Cisco Connect Cloud service and they are able to opt-out of signing up for an account

Cisco Connect Cloud is an optional service that brings additional features to a home network. It is not required to set-up and manage Cisco Linksys EA Series routers. 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.

Customers can set-up and manage their Linksys router without signing up for a Cisco Connect Cloud account

If a customer chooses not to set up a Cisco Connect Cloud account, they can manage their router with the current local management software. We are committed to providing both Cloud-enabled and local management software. Customers who have already signed up for a Cisco Connect Cloud account may stay with the service and enjoy the expanded features, or can revert back to the local management software by calling the Linksys customer support line at 1-800-326-7114 or by following this link to self-guide themselves though the process.

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.

Cisco Linksys routers are not used to collect information about Internet usage.

Cisco’s Linksys routers do not track or store any personal information regarding customers’ use of the Internet.

Cisco only retains information that is necessary to sign up for and support the Cisco Connect Cloud service

If a customer signs up for the Cisco Connect Cloud service, they are asked to provide a new username, a password, and an email address, which is required to set up the account. When the customer sets up a Cisco Connect Cloud account, they are asked to provide a local administrative password for the EA Series router to associate it with a Cisco Connect Cloud account. Cisco does not store this local administrative password.

To reiterate, even when a customer signs up for a Cisco Connect Cloud account, Cisco does not track or store any personal information regarding a customer’s usage of the Internet.

Cisco will not push software updates to customers’ Linksys routers when the auto-update setting is turned off.

Cisco will only push software updates to a Linksys router when the auto-update option is selected.  We will clarify this in an update to our documentation.

Once again, I sincerely apologize on behalf of the Cisco team for the inconvenience we have caused. Cisco is committed to the privacy and security of our customers, and I assure you we will update our terms of service and related documentation as quickly as possible to accurately reflect our company policy and values.

UPDATE July 6, 2012 10:15am: Corrected Cisco Connect Cloud Terms of Service, End User License Agreement and Privacy Supplement are now available.

Sincerely,

Brett Wingo

VP/GM

Cisco Home Networking

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A Recipe for Cookies

This month marks the 63rd anniversary of the publishing of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, it might be interesting to take a look at what is currently the primary method used for tracking on the Internet, the Browser Cookie. Browser cookies are a subject with almost as much misinformation floating around as there is correct information.

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The Monetization of Privacy – Birth of a “Trust Economy”

Trust will be the most highly valued currency in a globally connected world. Those companies that earn their customers trust will be able to add significant value and at the same time monetize the data. It won’t be easy to accomplish but it all starts with understanding who owns the data.

The Facebook IPO finally happened last week and so did a new era for all Internet companies and the topic of privacy.  Facebook and others will have to increase their focus on growing their revenues to meet street expectations, and in the process, they will have to continue to innovate and monetize user information.   The concept of collecting and selling user information is not new, and as a matter of fact, retail stores like supermarkets have been doing this for years.  Every time you use your supermarket loyalty card, you are trading off privacy for coupons and discounts. As the article below points out, companies that collect information from places like supermarkets know about your religion, what books you read, how much education you have, your income and even your health condition, based on your supermarket shopping habits.  Literally, to buy adult diapers, you can be marked by these consumer information collection groups as someone who has a bladder-control problem.

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It’s Time to Have a Serious Conversation About Internet Privacy Laws

March 14, 2012 at 4:15 am PST

On Saturday, March 10, Jasmin Melvin published the story “Web Giants Face Battle Over ‘Do Not Track’, Other Consumer Privacy Legislation.” The U.S. government, and governments around the world, have their eyes set on Google, Apple, and Facebook and their current and future policies in regards to internet privacy laws. SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, was the legislature’s first major attempt at regulating the Internet, and web giants like Google and Wikipedia responded with a day of blackouts, generating “3.9 million tweets, 2,000 people a second trying to call their elected representatives, and more than 5,000 people a minute signing petitions opposing the legislation.” SOPA may have failed, but you can be sure it won’t be the last attempt at regulation. This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), plans to issue new recommendations for Internet privacy and data management policy.

You might think, “What’s the big deal, sure I want my privacy protected from Google, Facebook and the like, this is the United States of America.” Well, it’s not quite that simple. I agree, Google and Facebook can’t afford to get this one wrong: they would risk losing massive numbers of users who opt out, or choose new options that don’t track data or new features such as a “do not track” button. But decisions like this have massive consequences that go beyond personal privacy and data management. Read More »

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NCSAM Tip #4: The Hidden Data in JPG Photos

Digital photography has certainly brought considerable joy into the lives of millions of people around the world, but there are also security implications and they may be somewhat different than what many people believe. Many images, including JPGs, can contain metadata, data about the data in the image. To illustrate, I took a picture of the Ike cutout in front of my cube.

ike

Seems harmless enough, but let’s take a look at the EXIF data in this image.

I used http://regex.info/exif.cgi but there are other sites and apps that will let you view and/or manipulate EXIF data. Per regex.info here is some of the EXIF data:

Basic Image Information

Description: SAMSUNG
Camera: Samsung GT-I9000
Lens: 3.5 mm (Max aperture f/2.6)
Exposure: Auto exposure, Program AE, 1/13 sec, f/2.6, ISO 100
Flash: Off, Did not fire
Date: September 15, 2011 9:26:08AM
Location: 37° 24′ 30″N, 121° 55′ 39″WAltitude: 0 m
Timezone guess from earthtools.org: 8 hours behind GMT
File: 1,920 × 2,560 JPEG (4.9 megapixels)
1,542,855 bytes (1.5 megabytes) Image compression: 90%

Look, it put me correctly in Building 17.

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