Needless to say, I was not pleased about this, so I uninstalled LELA and the Linksys Updater and deleted the folders left after uninstallation. I then contacted Linksys and let them know what I had found and that this stealth behavior was completely unacceptable.
After a short investigation (overnight), my Linksys contact called to say that I had found a bug. He offered assurance that what I found "was a mistake and that we had no intention of doing anything without customer consent".
He also relayed word from the technical team working on the bug that they had "completely turned off the Update Agent for now until we complete and test the build of a new agent we can deploy that does not install LELA without first specifically asking the customer if they want it".
I have confirmed that the Linksys Updater currently no longer downloads LELA. But the bug that installs the Linksys Updater application without warning or consent is still present on CDs with products in the field.
Fortunately, the bug is simple to avoid. Just don't run the Setup Wizard CD! But if you do want to run the wizard and not install the Linksys Updater, here's what you do:
1) Just run through the wizard, including checking the "I accept" on the License Agreement page.
2) When you get to the final Better Together screen, click the Windows Close Window (X) box, not the Close button. Figure 4 shows the do's and don'ts.
Figure 4: How to prevent the Linksys Updater Install
If you click the Close button by mistake, the Linksys Updater service will still silently install and run (it automatically launches during boot). But I have confirmed that it will currently not download LELA, as Linksys has indicated.
If you're like me and don't want the Linksys Updater process running, just use the Windows Add or Remove Programs Control Panel and remove it as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Uninstalling the Linksys Updater
If you do want LELA, and don't want to wait until Linksys fixes the updater, you can manually download it by hitting this page.
Linksys has not said when it will have a new updater that properly asks permission before downloading and installing LELA (or anything else for that matter). But they are working on it. They have made no commitment, however, to changing the Wizard CD so that it asks permission to install the Linksys Updater itself.
LELA may be "like having a Linksys expert in your home helping you to get the most out of your home network". But I prefer to invite guests into my home, don't you?