Verizon is stepping gingerly into dangerous territory, all in the name of trying to improve the customer service experience at the support level. Not too long ago, Verizon was one of the few cell phone carriers that didn't get tangled up in the "Carrier IQ debacle". (In case you missed it, Carrier IQ was a remote diagnostic tool that was pre-installed on a host of phones across several different Carriers that could remotely track a lot of personal information from a user. Eventually the PR was so bad for these providers that Carrier IQ got the "ban-hammer" and has pretty much been shunned ever since.)
Verizon was one of the few carriers that never used or installed any of Carrier IQ's software on their devices, and folks were happy about that. However, VZW is currently testing some new remote diagnostic tools of their own that have similar qualities. Luckily, after digging into the meat of these new tools, they don't seem nearly as paranoid-inducing as what Carrier IQ was doing, but should still be shared with you, our amazing readers. Here are the details:
So, tell us what you think of this new idea from Verizon. Is it a good way to handle the situation, or still too "big brotherish" for your taste?Both the LG Revolution and DROID Charge received small updates that included, among bug fixes, a new feature that would deliver “enhanced customer support with Verizon Remote Diagnostics.” Verizon claims the tool will improve customer service and will be used when a customer calls the carrier for customer support. Then, with the customer’s permission it will allow a customer service representative to remotely view a user’s device for “device training, application demonstrations and troubleshooting.”
Unlike Carrier IQ, however, the software “does not run in the background.” And while the software cannot be removed from a device, Verizon spokesman Albert Aydin told BGR that “it only runs when a customer calls support and gives permission to use it.”
“The tool will not run unless a customer gives explicit permission during a call with customer support,” Aydin confirmed. “If customer support suggests using the tool as a way to diagnose a problem the customer will see a notification on their device after customer support initiates the Verizon Remote Diagnostics tool. A customer will then see a permission request directly on their device along with ‘terms and conditions’ and an ‘Accept’ or ‘Reject’ button. A customer will need to select ‘Accept’ in order for the tool to run. Customers are free to select ‘Reject’ and the tool will not run.”
Thanks for the tip, Truss!