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Ease-of-use or marketing-driven sabotage (17 Dec 2003)
Recently, a router vendor configured its product to occasionally redirect HTTP requests to a product ad Web site and defended the action as an "ease-of-use" feature. In this installment, cranky Peter Seebach discusses why this type of design is wrong and the technical (and ethical) problems it can cause.
Imagine you have a network product, perhaps a router let's say, and you've crafted a feature you think people might like. You might embed something in the documentation about it or perhaps even enclose a glossy brochure with the product. Alternately, you might want to just sniff network traffic and, about once every eight hours, redirect a randomly selected HTTP (you know, the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol, the protocol used to browse the Web) session to an ad for your product.

A company that I'll call Company X just started doing this with one of their wireless routers.
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