A recent firmware update to its Nighthawk AC1900 R7000 router saw Netgear start to collect analytics data from its users. This had many people upset because of concerns about privacy, but the company is at pains to stress that no personal data is being collected.
In addition to this, the company points out that the program is voluntary, and users are free to opt out at any time. Rather than anything sinister or underhand, Netgear says that the data collection is purely to isolate problems and improve the router.
In a statement the company say: “Technical data about the functioning and use of NETGEAR routers and their WiFi networks will help NETGEAR improve its products. This data collection will enable us to: isolate and debug general technical issues, improve router features and functionality, improve the performance and usability of NETGEAR routers. For example, such data may help NETGEAR get any early notification of Internet or WiFi disconnects in a firmware and help identify root causes in order to fix them quickly.”
Netgear says that the data collected is as follows:
The information does not include information such as browser history or sites visited. Rather, the data collected includes:
- Information regarding the router’s running status
- Number of devices connected to the router
- Types of connections
- LAN/WAN status
- WiFi bands and channels
- IP address, MAC address, serial number
- Similar technical data about the functioning and use of the router and its Wi-Fi network
To reiterate, NETGEAR does not track or collect the websites you visit or collect the content of any traffic on your network.