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Belkin Routers Route Users to Censorware Ad

jamie posted more than 10 years ago | from the happy-birthday-megan dept.

Censorship 805

The Register has a story today about Belkin routers redirecting their users' network traffic. To me, this seems like the logical next step after top-level domain name servers piping ads to your browser. Now the routers themselves hijack the traffic they are supposed to, uh, route -- and you'll love where they send you instead. But it's OK because you can opt out. Incidentally, the Crystal Ball Award goes to Seth Finkelstein, who in 2001 quoted John Gilmore's famous aphorism about the internet, and asked "What if censorship is in the router?"

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419426)

censor my ass

Sensor my ftr0sty p1st! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419437)

fo shizzle

Re:Sensor my ftr0sty p1st! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419450)

YOU FAIL IT! [goatse.cx]

Oh my GOD do not click that link! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419510)

it is a photo of a so-called human being stretching his anus--my GOD you could fit a basketball in there!
What sick pervert would do that?

Re:Oh my GOD do not click that link! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419607)

That photo is typically credited to slashdot editor Michael Sims.

Good qoute (2, Interesting)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419451)

There is censorship in the routers. But there is also loose spare change that the system addy dropped in their too.

Where the hell was... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419453)

...John Edwards on this one? If I'm paying the psychics for the big bucks, they'd better be on task, dammit!

3rd Post!

Ha ha! I'm a trend setter!

Here's the angle I would take... (5, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419454)

The device is defective. Make product support give you one that works. While you're at it, send hate mail to the marketing team. I bet the support guy will give you the right email addresses...

Better yet, get the addresses and post them here.

Re:Here's the angle I would take... (5, Insightful)

Hypocritical Guy (674824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419502)

I'll just quit buying Belkin products. Though I don't have any to beginning.

Re:Here's the angle I would take... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419535)

ericd@belkin.com

You're welcome. :)

Re:Here's the angle I would take... (0, Troll)

Sneftel (15416) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419539)

Uh huh. Did you actually RTFA? you can turn this off in the options. Tell me, how is a product defective because you haven't configured it?

Re:Here's the angle I would take... (4, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419584)

Uh, "spam" is not a feature I should have to turn off... Can you point to the RFC for this "feature"? No? Then it's defective...

Re:Here's the angle I would take... (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419585)

If the router failes to take you to the requested address randomly it fails. This is oen of the worst ideas ever

Re:Here's the angle I would take... (4, Insightful)

msuzio (3104) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419603)

I believe any router that knowing hijacks any connection *by default* is broken as designed. End of story. Does not meet my definition of a functional router. I don't care if I can turn it off. It's an abomination before God.

I think Belkin deserves every bit of abuse on this issue. They knowingly did something annoying to their customers only because they couldn't figure out how to sell this POS censorware service any other way. Screw them.

Exactly (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419580)

This is a defective product. It doesn't route IP packets correctly. Return it for repair, replacement, or [preferrably] refund.

Boy did they blow this one. If they had stuck to something simple like your very first HTTP transaction brought up a configuration/advert screen only once, then there wouldn't even be a story.

What if I had bought this for an isolated network? Would it hang up for an appreciable amount of time trying to contact belkin.com?

You may wonder how this happened: A Story. (4, Funny)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419620)


One day, Belkin's router project manager Eric Deming was sitting around thinking, "How can we get $5,000,000 worth of bad publicity for free, and sink the company in an afternoon?"

Then he had an idea: "That's it! We'll abuse the trust of our customers, and get a story on Slashdot!

There's a class-action suit brewing, I'll bet (4, Interesting)

McSpew (316871) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419640)

I agree that if I'd bought one of those things and it started redirecting my traffic, I'd consider it defective and demand my money back. Belkin's really moronic to think that this won't backfire on them and result in an expensive class-action lawsuit. Maybe they can defuse a lawsuit by offering refunds to anyone who's upset at the feature, but I'm guessing they're too sold on their own flawed logic to understand that what they did is not going to be seen as anything other than making the product do something its owners didn't ask it to do, and that Belkin didn't tell them it would do.

I can smell the class-action attorneys lining up now.

How ironic... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419457)

...I use their mousepads to avoid the ad-covered ones I get a trade shows :-(

Some other ideas... (5, Insightful)

L-Train8 (70991) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419459)

What's next? Will the phone you buy occasionaly redirect your call to a telemarketer? Will your TV remote automatically switch channels to an infomercial? Maybe your car radio could redirect your listening to a clear channel station every
8 hours. These are business models I need to patent...

Re:Some other ideas... (3, Funny)

blamanj (253811) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419468)

I'm looking forward to to car that randomly turns left when you turn the steering wheel to the right.

Re:Some other ideas... (0, Redundant)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419568)

I'm looking forward to to car that randomly turns left when you turn the steering wheel to the right.

Whatever, Jacob.

:P

Re:Some other ideas... (5, Funny)

jpetts (208163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419642)

I'm looking forward to to car that randomly turns left when you turn the steering wheel to the right.

Come to WA state: it appears that most drivers here are already using them, if their apparent road-sense is anything to go by...

Re:Some other ideas... (1)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419532)

What's next? .... stuff

all of it! the day someone got the bright idea of frontloading the time-and-weather number with an ad, this was all ineveitable.

Usenet thread (4, Informative)

turg (19864) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419460)

Here's the usenet thread [google.com] where this was first discussed. Especially noteable are the initial discovery [google.com] , the response from Belkin [google.com] and the first response [google.com] to Belkin. After that it it's pretty much the same thing you can expect to see here on /.

Re:Usenet thread (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419497)

From: ericd@belkin.com (Eric Deming)
Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.email
Subject: Re: [OT-evil marketing] Belkin does Verislime one better - router spam!
Date: 5 Nov 2003 15:25:28 -0800
Organization: http://groups.google.com
Lines: 70
Message-ID:
References:
NNTP-Posting-Host: 67.98.73.254
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
X-Trace: posting.google.com 1068074728 22743 127.0.0.1 (5 Nov 2003 23:25:28 GMT)
X-Complaints-To: groups-abuse@google.com
NNTP-Posting-Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 23:25:28 +0000 (UTC)

"JerryMouse" wrote in message news:...
> Mr. Uh Clem wrote:
>
> [...]
>
> What does Belkin say when you complain?
>
> I'd make their life miserable until they removed the offending software from
> my machine.
>
> You did not conset to this aspect of your machine's modification - this is
> nothing less than malicious.
>
> Raise hell.

I was made aware of this posting by an e-mail that was sent to
Belkin's tech support e-mail box. Since I am a product manager for
Belkin's LAN products and was very involved with the development of
the Parental Control feature, I feel that I can shed some light on
this subject. Firstly, without trying to sound too stand-offish, we
are not talking about SPAM here. For me to clarify, an understanding
of the Parental Control service will really be needed.

Since Parental Control is a subscription service, Belkin wanted to
make registering for the service very easy. Since the router actually
will work in tandem with an outside server (Cerberian,
www.cerberian.com) registration information needs to be collected and
sent to Belkin and Cerberian to activate an account. Traditional
methods of registration, such as asking the user to go to a website or
navigate to the Router's internal Web page to enter information didn't
meet the ease-of-use goal. We elected to re-direct one http request to
the "Register Now" reminder page. (There is a link in a previous
posting if you want to see it) This page asks the user to register for
the service for a free 6 month trial. Now, granted this looks like an
ad. It should, it is intended to be informative and easy enough to
understand. At this point, the user can register or click "No Thanks".
Clicking "No Thanks" sets a flag in the Router to stop the Router from
re-directing every 8 hours to the reminder page. (Again remember, only
one http request every 8 hours). Admittedly, there is no controlling
which computer on the LAN this message will pop up on. If the user
just closes the window without clicking "No Thanks", then the flag is
never set, and the reminders will continue. Now, if you are the type
that doesn't want to click the "No Thanks" button, then no problem.
Navigate to the Router's internal web interface (default IP =
192.168.2.1), click on the Parental Control menu. In the Menu, select
"Don't Remind every 8 hours" (This phrase actually varies a bit, but
you get the idea) then click "Apply Changes". DONE. Nothing to it. By
the way, this procedure might have to be done if your router is behind
a firewall. Reason: filter.belkin.com sends a response to the Router
to set the flag. Firewalls will block the response. This might explain
the problem in a school for instance.

We did this not to be evil, we did this to make sure that any
non-techy person (part of our target audience) would have ample
opportunity to opt in or out of the free 6 month trial of the Parental
Control feature. The Router doesn't collect information on you and
send it to Belkin. We don't have the ability to SPAM you at a later
time if you select "No Thanks" or turn off the Reminder manually. I
know this feature might be misunderstood and might PO some people. I
know the manual could do a better job explaining it. These are all
things that we at Belkin are working to remedy.

Oh, one last bit, when upgrading firmware for the Routers that
originally shipped without the Parental Control feature, the new
firmware has this feature added. This was by popular demand. Our
customer install base began to notice the Parental Control feature on
new models that we are shipping, and wanted a solution for themselves
without having to buy a new product. So, we accommodated them.

I'm happy to answer any questions if you have any. Thanks!

MOD PARENT UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419604)

Please please please mod the parent up to 5. Actually having Belkin's response (a.k.a. hanging themselves) prominently displayed on this page will greatly reduce the amount of uninformed comments in this discussion

Re:MOD PARENT UP (4, Funny)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419608)

...will greatly reduce the amount of uninformed comments in this discussion

no it won't. this is slashdot.

Unemployed, Belkin should have some vacancies... (1)

Delta-9 (19355) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419609)

Too bad their "employment" [belkin.com] page is broken. I guess they need a new web admin and new PR people.

pffft ... Belkin Products (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419461)

Belkin = Broken

That is insanity (5, Interesting)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419462)

Ok if I buy say a Book from my favorite online bookstore and get it shipped UPS, I'd expect it to arrive as a book right?

But what if every one in 100 times, UPS thinks I might like a corporate logo bumper sticker instead of my book, they throw my book into the eternal void, and give me a UPS bumper sticker instead. I'm supposed to like this?

Bottom line: When I ask a package to get delivered, and for a certain package to be received, I WANT that package, not what they think I want. Whether it's a TCP/IP packet, or a book. I fail to see the difference here.

Bottom line, thanks to Slashdot I'm not buying my routers from Belkin (not that I'm a telecom person, but still I'd be careful if I ever had to).

Re:That is insanity (1)

Webmoth (75878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419559)

"...what if every one in 100 times, UPS thinks I might like a corporate logo bumper sticker instead of my book, they throw my book into the eternal void..."

Ahem. One in every 100 times, UPS thinks you might like to buy their insurance instead of your book, and throws your book under the truck.

In case Belkin, Linksys, D-Link et al is listening (0, Redundant)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419465)

Do this shit and I will NEVER buy ANY of your products again. Never.

Re:In case Belkin, Linksys, D-Link et al is listen (0, Flamebait)

tarzan353 (246515) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419500)

Way to take a stand. I'm sure these companies will decide to reject all that ad revenue in favor of the money they'll make off the one router you buy.

Re:In case Belkin, Linksys, D-Link et al is listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419548)

Hopefully some plaintiff's attorney will pick up on this story, and file a class action law suit against them....

That may dissuade other router manufacurers from going down the same path..

Re:In case Belkin, Linksys, D-Link et al is listen (1)

Fareq (688769) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419586)

well, now its the routers that 2 people will buy.

And the network cards / access points / other equipment.

Hell... I'm even going to make sure mot to pick up a USB cable or surge protector made by Belkin.

Come on, all you moral crusaders! Join us now! you know you want to...

Re:In case Belkin, Linksys, D-Link et al is listen (2, Insightful)

lal (29527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419630)

Actually, Belkin is not getting ad revenue. They're advertising one of their own products (parental control).
Also, I think Belkin, D-Link, et.al. might well listen. The home wireless router market is a cutthroat, commodity place. To me, they're all basically the same box. Why would I buy from a company that routes me to spam, when there are 5 others that don't on the same shelf for the same price?

Re:In case Belkin, Linksys, D-Link et al is listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419515)

Actually, I will buy other Belkin products if they sack this amoral a-hole [google.com] . He has the guts to call an intentional product defect a feature. Beklin needs to issue an clear apology that shows they understand how abuse this behavior is. Not likely given the way companies work today.

If this had happened to me, I'd be writing the FTC, not Slashdot.

Please... (-1, Troll)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419467)

...Not Goatse!!! Please, let there be a god!

(incedentially, has anyone looked lately? They've got a (marginally safe) halloween picture up.)

Re:Please... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419490)

Um, NO, I haven't, and the question is, if you've been there once, and are crying out to God because you know what you'll see, why are you going back there?

Seek professional help.

Re:Please... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419528)

uh, so you like to just have a little peak at that picture every once in a while, or what?

it's late at night, no one is around... www.goa...

hmmm...

Re:Please... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419600)

How can I reprogram my Belkin router to direct unsuspecting users to goatse.cx?

great quote (4, Interesting)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419469)

In response criticism, a Belkin product manager came forward this week to confirm the behaviour was designed into the products as a way to make it easier for consumers to sign up to a free trial of its parental control software.

Also in the news: the American council for airbags has been hitting people randomly in the streets to make it easier to appreciate their products. Thanks!

Seriously, though, I don't 'get' how a company could think this would endear themselves to their customers. If Cisco pulled this shit on its customers and made all their routers randomly direct to their brand-new VPN product I think it'd make people stop using Cisco FAST

You can turn this of (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419471)

You can turn the redirecting of by selecting the never warn me button in the router setup pages

I could see this coming (1, Insightful)

GoatPigSheep (525460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419473)

Thanks to ad-blocking features in some browsers like opera or mozilla, marketers now need new ways to deliver ads to the public. Ads are required to keep many people in business, and blocking them just forces marketers to use more intrusive tactics such as this. Why do you think internet explorer doesn't block ads by default? Because we should respect advertisers...

If you disagree with me, look at the ad at the top of this very page, even slashdot uses ads to stay in business.

Re:I could see this coming (5, Insightful)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419507)

IHBT...

Bullshit. Slashdot is bombarding me with ads because I'm a cheap bastard and refuse to pay them for the content they provide me. Belkin's got the money I gave them for their router, they don't need to be sending me ads I don't want to see to make more money.

Re:I could see this coming (1)

Sebby (238625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419523)

What ad? I don't see any ads!

<proxy filter off>oohhh! that ad!</proxy filter off>

Re:I could see this coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419582)

I'm not sure I get your argument. Is it the same one spammers use to justify fraud when evading filters? Blaming the victom isn't an excuse for unethical behavior.

If that's the case, I think you are nuts.

If you disagree with me, look at the ad at the top of this very page, even slashdot uses ads to stay in business.

What ads? I guess that's it for Slashdot.

Re:I could see this coming (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419641)

Ads are required to keep many people in business, and blocking them just forces marketers to use more intrusive tactics such as this.

OR they could realize that the intrusiveness of the ads actually is the root to the problem. Everybody loves Google's text ads, right? I've found lots of stuff through them myself.

The advertisers could stop using those flash pop unders and instead use SSI (so users can't block the ad servers) plain text or images. That'd be pretty much impossible to block except in specific cases.

Re:I could see this coming (1)

babyrat (314371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419647)

I think you have not read the article, or have misunderstood it. Belkin is sending you to an ad on their website instead of the page you requested via their hardware that you've already purchased.

Now if Belkin gave me my router for free, with the caveat that it would do this, I could certainly accept it, like I accept the ads at the top of Slashdot. However I've already paid for the router (and I really have - my wireless router at home is a Belkin) and expect it to be a router, not a Belkin ad distributor.

My next router will certainly NOT be a Belkin.

use a real router (4, Informative)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419476)

Take an old Pentium I and put Smoothwall [smoothwall.org] on it. No more Belkin and Netgear routers you get for $50 at Circuty City.

so.. (1, Troll)

The Other White Boy (626206) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419477)

..if you can disable it, and the instructions mention that you can and explain how to, is this really that big a deal?

Re:so.. (1)

tuffy (10202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419554)

..if you can disable it, and the instructions mention that you can and explain how to, is this really that big a deal?

It wouldn't be a big deal if this misfeature was disabled by default. As it stands, it's fairly annoying.

Re:so.. (4, Insightful)

lal (29527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419557)

Yes, it is a big deal.
First, the original poster on Google said that he got it, unannounced, as part of a router firmware upgrade. No warning or explanation.
Second, Belkin sells a product that is supposed to route Internet traffic, including HTTP. At certain, random points, it does not do that. Instead it sends out an advertisement to a user who has made a valid HTTP request. If Sony started selling a CD player that played a commercial for Coke once every 8 hours, would that be "no big deal"?
I'm not spending another cent on Belkin gear until they reverse the upgrade and pledge not to do it again. Otherwise, simple gear like routers will become spam engines.

Re:so.. (2, Informative)

mikeswi (658619) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419565)

If you can highlight the 50 spams waiting on you in your inbox in the morning, press delete, and whisk them off to /dev/null/, is spam really a big deal?

Yes in both cases, because in both cases unwanted marketing has hijacked your use of your private property to display unwanted advertisements. It is unethical, unwanted, and it is on the other side of a line that companies GODDAMNED WELL BETTER UNDERSTAND they are not to cross.

Re:so.. (0, Troll)

remusrm (663322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419570)

people like you should live in the CCCP, or USSR.

Re:so.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419571)

because, at the very least, the default should be off, not on.

Re:so.. (4, Insightful)

MoxCamel (20484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419574)

..if you can disable it, and the instructions mention that you can and explain how to, is this really that big a deal?

Yes. Because routers route, period. And when they route, they're supposed to route correctly. Opt-out is bullshit, because it's saying "our product ships broken, until you unbreak it."

Re:so.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419575)

I have one of these gems and it redirects the three PCs going through it about once every two weeks. Incidentally, I have clicked the opt out href probably 5 times and each time it gives me an error message saying my request did not go through then I keep getting the redirects. So, no the opt out does not work just like many porn spam opt-outs.

Re:so.. (1)

xNoLaNx (653172) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419610)

Really it's not. As long as it still directs you to the original page; I don't see it as a large problem. Besides, most techies I know go into any new device they get and spend half the day breaking it and tuning it to their custom desires. How would you not notice that and look it up or just disable it on principle?

Re:so.. (2, Informative)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419626)

..if you can disable it, and the instructions mention that you can and explain how to, is this really that big a deal?

This is not adequate for two reasons.

First, many users will never discover it. For these users, the censorship [jerf.org] is involuntary and permenent.

Second, Free speech [jerf.org] is a right, not something any entity can predicate on an action at their whim.

The opposite might be acceptable, if the users could deliberately request this "feature". The fact no sane person would activate this "feature" also speaks to the fact it's a corruption of ethics.

Re:so.. (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419649)

It's the difference between opt-out and opt-in. If Belkin's routers shipped with this "feature" disabled, who in their right mind would turn it on?

Dial up for your kiddie porn? (-1, Flamebait)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419478)

So is your local phone company letting you to dial up for some hot kiddie porn? No? Oh my god, what brutal censorship that is!

(Yeah, that was sarcasm in case you're not sure)

How is this any different?

Redirect hardcoded? (5, Interesting)

nizo (81281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419479)

Is the address it redirects to hardcoded, or can the router get hacked and a new address put in? Now that would be good PR for Belkin, someone hacks the router and redirects all web traffic to some porn site.

Re:Redirect hardcoded? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419518)

Strangley they already did that to me when my girlfriend came round...

Further discussion (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419481)

There is quite an interesting ongoing discussion of this at the Nero Tech Center [nero-online.org]

Verizon? (0, Offtopic)

Ledskof (169553) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419486)

In Verizon's incredible company aquisitions, did they strategy start eating peripheral (plus all the other crap that Belkin makes) manufacturers as well?

Not in my house (3, Interesting)

roninmagus (721889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419487)

Well, guess I won't be using any Belkin routers.

From the article:
"In response criticism, a Belkin product manager came forward this week to confirm the behaviour was designed into the products as a way to make it easier for consumers to sign up to a free trial of its parental control software."

Soooo.. it's spam, then. What a way of putting it mildly.

Should read:
"In response criticism, a Belkin lackey admitted a confirmation this week that the router will hijack an HTML request in order to advertise their product, for your convenience!"

Constitutional??? (1)

paradizelost (689394) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419488)

IANAL but couldn't this violate free speech? who makes the decision as to what gets redirected? did they have any sort of mention of this in documentation included with the router, or did they just think no one would notice??!

Re:Constitutional??? (1)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419578)

ANAL but couldn't this violate free speech?

No. Belkin is not a government entity. Legally, they can configure their hardware to reject packets from sites that they find offensive. Of course, there's the issue of disclosure that could make for fraud charges, but there's no First Amendment violation, just like there's no First Amentment violation when an ISP blocks spammers from sending mail to their system.

Re:Constitutional??? (1)

Clemence (16887) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419581)

IAAL - only the government can violate your 1st amendment right to free speech. The 1st Amendment only prohibits Congress from making such laws, other amendments extend the rule to State/Local governments. None extends it to private citizens.

That's why you and I can be modded into oblivion without the recourse of suing. Damn, and I just posted, so I can't mod you down and infringe on your 1st amendment rights . . . power unused. . .

Re:Constitutional??? (0)

Adolf Oliver Bush (716951) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419613)

>IANAL but couldn't this violate free speech?

NO. it only violates free speech if the GOVERNMENT is curtailing your speech rights. as belkin is a private company, they are entitled to do whatever they want like this. and you are entitled to buy a different brand.

again. if government is not involved, then it cannot be a free speech/censorship/1st amendment issue.

Re:Constitutional??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419646)

IANAL

NO SHIT!!! As if the utter stupidity of your post didn't make that clear! Get a fucking clue.

Jeezus Christ on a stick, what's next? (2, Insightful)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419496)

I'm speechless at how brazen these guys are. I just don't know what to say, other than that I'm now afraid to buy their products. When I buy a product, I want it to work like it's supposed to work, not the way some marketing idiot thinks it should work. This is deceptive, possibly damaging, and certainly in violation of any number of specifications/RFCs. What are they thinking?

TRUST ME (1)

seanmeister (156224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419504)

From the Eric Deming of Belkin:

We don't have the ability to spam you at a later time if you select "No Thanks" or turn off the reminder manually.

Riiiiiiiiight. Not until the next router software update maybe.

But props to him for calling it what it is: spam.

This is a DEFECT. Give me back my money (2, Insightful)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419506)

Several judges in different countries have already established that copy-protection on CDs was a defect and clients got reimbursed. This router behaviour is just the same.

When will they learn ?

Better router? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419508)

Just use an old 386/486/pentium 1. Or, you could even try to use an xbox for the same price as a router... adding a second ethernet card or trying to use the USB connector. In your 386, you could put a usb pci card in and use a usb flash drive. This should be sufficient to hold the memory needed for the router. For the OS, of course use BSD/Linux/whatever-you-want. Even windows 98 has IPMASQ support... renamed "internet connection sharing" - you'll need to cut down the install drastically to fit on the 64/128MB flash disk, though.

NEO AND TRINITY BOTH DIE (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419509)

Neo and Trinity both die in Revolutions after a rampant tantric sex session. Morpheus comes out of the closet as gay lover of Merv. Persephone has lesbian sex with Zee.

Oh, this is bad (2, Funny)

msuzio (3104) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419512)

I really cannot believe this. This doesn't concern me as a censorship issue (doesn't appear as if censorship is built into the router itself... but without details on exactly how this parental control works, don't really know). It concerns me as a pure *annoyance* issue. I would absolutely flip out if my router dared to do this!

Everyone at Belkin should be ashamed of themselves. How could an engineer do this? He should be flogged with a cat-o-nine tails of twisted pair wire... this is evil, evil, evil.

Oh, and to the Belkin Marketing Department: Kill yourselves. Suck a tailpipe, hang yourself, borrow a gun... rid the world of your evil machinations. [ Just planting seeds [billhicks.com] ]

Wasn't this mentioned awhile ago? (2, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419516)

I recall an old arguement against censorware was just this kind of intrusion.

The next step, of course, is for a hacker to hijack this "feature" and dump all of a routing companys customers to child porn, warez sites, or nigerian scams galore.

Then there is the temptation of the companies themselves, "You can turn this feature off only by submitting a valid e-mail address." Then they sell off these addresses to spammers worldwide for a profit.

This kind of stuff is worse than big brother. At least in 1984 they didn't force commercials down your throat.

Better quote! (1)

nubbie (454788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419517)

"We don't have the ability to spam you at a later time if you select "No Thanks" or turn off the reminder manually," Deming writes. "I know this feature might be misunderstood and might PO some people. I know the manual could do a better job explaining it. These are all things that we at Belkin are working to remedy."

LOL... now I wonder why they did not explain it better!

Coming soon to a Belkin product near you! (4, Funny)

mrAgreeable (47829) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419520)

Keyboards that occasionally type "www.belkin.com" when they detect you're typing a URL. (But you know, not more than once every eight hours, so it's OK.)

USB mass-storage devices that randomly delete files and replace them with .jpgs of happy people using Belkin products.

PC Speakers that say "Shop at Belkin!" every couple of minutes.

etc...

What the...? (0, Offtopic)

dswensen (252552) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419521)

Uh Clem. a former Belkin wireless router user, was perplexed to find machines on his network redirected to an ad for Belkin's new parental control system, following a software update.

The guy's name is "Uh Clem"?!

Man, he must have taken some ribbing in grade school. For a second I thought this article had been written by ignorant hayseeds from (insert state of choice here). "Uhhhh, Clem, the router t'ain't workin'."

Re:What the...? (3, Interesting)

Passacaglia (3824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419624)

"Uh. . . Clem" was the answer given by a character on a Firesign Theatre record We're all Bozos on this Bus, circa 1970, when asked by a computer for his name.

Re:What the...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419643)

"Uh Clem" is a reference to a Firesign Theater bit.

In other words... (1, Redundant)

dark-br (473115) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419530)

Belkin knowingly chose to hijack an HTTP query *WITHOUT THE USER'S PRIOR PERMISSION* to facilitate sales of their product.

Thank you for admitting that Belkin spams and steals. That made it very easy to remvoed Belkin from our Corporate purchase program.

censorship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419531)

like this ...

[slashdot.org]
link

Thank you Belkin. (5, Funny)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419538)

With the dizzying array of routers available for purchase, I've often been befuddled by the sheer number of choices that I have when buying new equipment. Which one is better? Why is this router $10 less than this other one when they appear to do the same thing? Which manufacturer should I trust with my data? With razon thin profit margins, and fierce competition in the IT hardware industry, such choices have become extremely difficult.

It's comforting to to know that Belkin has recognized my problem, and has stepped forward in an effort to solve it. They make it so much easier by saying...

"If It's Belkin, You Don't Want It!"(tm)

Thank you Belkin. With your new forward-thinking "Don't Buy Our Stuff" policy, I will be sure to stay on the lookout for other products that you offer, so that they can assist me in making difficult purchasing choices even easier.

Hijacking my HTTP requests? (2, Insightful)

dbavirt (543160) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419540)

Assuming I understand this correctly, it could be dangerous. What if the request that got hi-jacked was me transferring money between two accounts?

Sure, they are probably safe because they only hijack HTTP (port 80) and not HTTPS (port 143). Hopefully anything important I'm doing is on port 143.

I will not buy Belkin anymore. This type of behaviour in a product is unacceptable. Advertising is one thing. Hijacking my requests is much more serious.

This is typical. (3, Interesting)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419561)

This is your typical "Tech vs. Non-Tech" argument. The manufacturer did something to appeal to Non-Techs, and it offended many Techs. Hmm.. wonder if the whole Windows vs Linux thing falls into this category...

I just wish Belkin would offer firmwares/hardware *without* the "feature". Any hijacking of routed packets is wrong. Sort of like saying ... well, when you first buy your car, at some point it will drive itself to McDonalds, unless you tell it "no thanks". Oh and it might randomly do this in the future unless you turn the feature off. Regardless of wether you like McDonalds or not, we had added the feature out of popular demand...

Clearly... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419562)

...my router has a 1st amendment right to send me advertisements and recommend political candidates.

Let me imagine this... (3, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419563)

Emergency rescue team takes a patient to hospital. The patient is in critical state. Suddenly the driver pulls over and exclaims: "We're at the bar that is owned by our hospital manager. Would you like a hamburger?" "For god's sake, I'm dying! Do I look like I wanted a hamburger?!" "Okay, as you wish, but remember, that are best hamburgers in town!" and the driver resumes his way to hospital...

Adaware NETWORK Version please (1)

FreakerSFX (256894) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419577)


Now scans network devices, NIC cards and prevents driver downloads from loading adware into your firmware.

_Might_ PO some people????? (2, Funny)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419579)

"I know this feature might be misunderstood and might PO some people. I know the manual could do a better job explaining it. These are all things that we at Belkin are working to remedy."

Oh please.

[grabs crotch] Remedy this!

Belkin is crap (1)

Ancil (622971) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419595)

Aside from the ad-ware, Belkin routers are plain crap. I bought one of their cheap, 4x100Mb models with DHCP and NAT. The router actually crashed twice in the three days I owned it.

Even better: when the router crashed, it managed to disable the 100Mbit switch as well. My machines couldn't even talk to each other any more. Usually the "switch" portion of a product like this is a hardware/embedded solution which runs even if you screw up your router config. Not with Belkin!

Even better: it dropped about 7% of packets. If you know how TCP timeouts work, you can imagine what that does to web browsing.

I returned it and bought a 100Mbit switch. Then I took the time to learn iptables for Linux (was hoping to just pay 60 bucks and not worry about it). Never looked back.

Grow up people (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419619)

This is not a bad thing. Censoring the internet is a thing at is going to happen and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Routers like these ought to be mandated by the government for every home that has internet access and this router should be able to filter out sites the government deems offensive. So no more pornography or reading the websites of kooks like Michael Ruppert or Alex Jones. It should also support Carnivore. You people here need to learn that the constitution is not law and is not to be followed. You are here to serve the state. Patriotic Americans burn with a hatred of liberty, they despise gun owners, marijuana smokers (Tommy Chong is getting his ass raped in prison right now, by the way, HAHA) and internet pirates, and they support everything the government does. Grow up and be patriotic!

NIGGER! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419621)

nIgGeR NiGgEr nigGER NIGger nigGer niggeR NIgger nIgGeR NiGgEr nigGER NIGger nigGer niggeR NIgger nIgGeR NiGgEr nigGER NIGger nigGer niggeR NIgger

This Breaks web sites... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419623)

Consider that a user is in the midst of filling out a long string of forms. After hitting the submit button, the next HTTP request directs them to this AD instead of the intended web form. Their form chain is broken, and there is potential data loss, as the customer has to start the forms over again. This is a VERY bad precedent to set. If it was the very first page served by the router, that could be different... the first time I tunred on my home router it directed me to a welcome and setup page... which is quite different.

just my $2/100

In related news... (4, Funny)

suss (158993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419632)

After a 18 hour operation, a router was removed from a belkin representative's rectum. When asked how the hardware device got there, all the man could say was "No. More. Spam. I. Promise...."

During the operation, the heart monitor seemed to have contracted a strange glitch; every 100th heartbeat a message about "Herbal Penis Enlargements" would pop up, blocking the stats"


Belkin belongs on fuckedcompany.

Trust?! (0)

esaglam (597432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419650)

Where did the trust go please? How can i trust Belkin now? Next step: Belkin cables will emit your personal info to identity mafia maybe.... :P
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