Razer Responds to Spyware and Gaming Mouse/Keyboard DRM Claims

The company confirms most assessments but had something to say about the rest

Following our article about the Synapse 2.0 software, its spyware-like traits, and how Razer's Gaming peripherals aren't allowed to work properly without it, the company contacted us in order to set some things straight.

The company, understandably enough, did not appreciate the criticism that its software and peripherals received. Curiously though, it confirmed most of the things that users discovered.

The company started by saying that Synapse 2.0 is not DRM, even though the hardware configurations users create, like hot key assignments, etc., cannot be saved without first connecting to the Internet and making an account.

No actual reason is given for why the account is even needed, although Razer did say it would try to make it possible for users to more easily enable the offline mode manually.

The second matter Razer addressed was the implication that Synapse 2.0 is Spyware. The company did confirm that data was captured during account creation, but says it is nothing sensitive. Only the e-mail address and device configurations are tracked.

“Razer tracks no other information and is not aware of how or where these configurations are used,” the statement says.

Razer goes on about the benefits of storing configurations in the cloud, so that owners of mice and keyboards could always have their peripheral automatically configured when connecting it to a different PC.

Razer further added that, while the Naga MMO mouse was designed with Synapse 1.0 architecture, the software became obsolete when keymapping, unlimited profiles and import/export functions were added.

The Naga onboard memory simply could not handle all these new capabilities, Razer says, so the solution of cloud storage was provided.

The recent criticism did cause changes though. For those that don't want the cloud features, the original Synapse 1.0 software will be made available on the company website.

It is somewhat ironic that these revelations came to light because Hurricane Sandy shut down the logon servers for four hours last week. As far as concessions go though, they are fairly minor.

Hopefully, the modifications to the offline mode will include allowing customers to store their settings on their own PCs, maybe without any online account being needed, even if they won't enjoy the automatic calibration when switching their mice to other machines.

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