A recent update to the firmware of a Netgear router included a remote data collection feature that gathers information from the user’s router and sends it back to the company.

The feature appears in the latest firmware for the NightHawk R7000 router, one of a number of Netgear routers that was discovered to have major security flaws last year. It is expected the data collection tool will be included in updates for other models of the company’s routers in the near future.

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With the update, the firmware gathers a considerable amount about how a person uses the router, including recording the IP address, MAC addresses, serial numbers, the router’s activity, types of connections, LAN/WAN status, Wi-Fi bands and channels and technical details about the use of the router and the Wi-Fi network.

All of that information is sent back to Netgear, which the company reasoned on a support page can “help us to more quickly isolate and debug general technical issues, improve router features and functionality and improve the performance and usability of our routers.”

Consumers have grown increasingly concerned about their online behavior being tracked — especially in the wake of the repeal of the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules in the United States, which would have prevented internet service providers from collecting data without the user’s permission, and the passage of Investigatory Powers Bill in the United Kingdom, which allows government organizations to look at citizen’s browsing history without a warrant.

Netgear’s new tracking practice, which is expected to make its way to the company’s other routers in future updates, adds another layer of potential worry for users who want to browse the web without worrying about prying eyes.

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It’s an especially troubling response given that the data collection tool was implemented in firmware that fixed a major security flaw that allowed hackers to gain remote access to Netgear routers and remotely execute malicious code that could infect devices on the network.

Luckily for concerned consumers, there is some recourse. It is possible to disable the data collection feature.

How To Disable Netgear Data Collection

Open up a web browser on a device connected to the network and go to www.routerlogin.net. A login window will appear and will request a username and password. By default, Netgear routers use “admin” as the username and “password” as the password.

Once logged in, a home page will appear. Select the Advanced menu, then go to Administration and Router Update. Once on the Router Update page, scroll down to a section called Router Analytics Data Collection.

Here, there will be an option to enable or disable the router analytics data collection feature. Select “disable” to prevent Netgear from gathering the data and click the Apply button. The process can be repeated to enable the feature as well for those who would prefer to provide the information to Netgear.