According to ExtremeTech's Joel Hruska, Cisco has released an update for their LinkSys home routers that locks users out of their devices. The only way to gain access back is to create an account on Cisco's cloud service which offers absolutely no advantages. Additionally, users must agree to a draconian UELA that pretty much lets them spy on you -- with the understanding that they can lock you out of your device if they feel you're doing something wrong. Sounds like it's time to upgrade my routers to another brand.
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 anotherís 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.
From the PC Magazine website, Samara Lynn seems impressed about features that have been available on routers for the last ten years; however, she provides this little titbit of information that may be useful to current owners:
[...] it's becoming clearer what's happening with Connect Cloud. Since reports of users angry over being forced to upgrade their Linksys software to Connect Cloud and others suspicious about the Terms of Service, it seems that Connect Cloud has been made unavailable, at least temporarily. In fact, damage control has been put into effect with an apologetic blog post from Brett Wingo, the general manager of Cisco's Home Networking Business Unit. Wingo expressed regrets for any customers who were inconvenienced by the update and reassured customers that their data privacy will be retained with the use of Connect Cloud. Even more telling -- maybe damaging -- is that Cisco posted instructions on how to rollback the EA series routers from the Connect Cloud upgrade to the original firmware.