Verizon adding Carrier IQ-esque diagnostics tool to some phones, but not as scary

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    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?

    Thanks for the tip, Truss!

    Source: BGR
  2. cereal killer
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    cereal killer DF Administrator Staff Member

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    Anytime there is an option to reject or accept I'm fine with it. There is a lot of value in this "service" to VZW customers. Maybe not with members on these forums, but for the average consumer I think it's an EXCELLENT concept.
    djspy, djsiva and tjk629 like this.
  3. paulhusker
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    paulhusker New Member

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    Sounds like this could be a problem if you root your phone or do some other modifications? Could they see some apps that might not be too Verizon friendly like 'Foxfi' that turns your phone into a mobile hotspot and nail you for violation of TOS?
  4. johnomaz
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    johnomaz Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I've never called VZW with a question since I've handled everything myself. However, when my wife broke her phone's charging port, I had her handle it herself as it was her stupidity that ended up getting the port broken. She was like a deer in headlights and that feature would have been very helpful for her if it was needed. The reject or accept option is very welcome. I'd like to know what info they will have access to or if they download any info from my phone automatically at connect though.
  5. metalspring
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    metalspring New Member

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    Every phone should come with the droidforums and xda apps preinstalled
    LoudRam, biiishplz and cereal killer like this.
  6. geoff5093
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    geoff5093 New Member

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    It may not be running in the sense that they can see what you're doing, but it sounds like it needs to be physically running in order to receive a command from Verizon when they send a request to view, I can see it hurting battery life.
  7. Trusstopher
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    Trusstopher DF Super Moderator

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    I wonder, like Paulhusker, if this would give them the ability to see apps installed and/or Root and Lock Status of a device. At current, I agree that it could and probably will be a great tool for the common user, my only fear is that it evolves into more of a standard practice to "verify your device" even when I'm calling to ask if there is a network outage or deal with a billing issue (stuff I can handle on my own with the help of the forum).

    While you may have the option to decline the connection, I wouldn't be surprised if they withheld customer support in response. And if a user runs a ROM without the app installed or uninstalls it themselves (requiring root I assume) wouldn't they be able to instantly flag your account/device solely on the fact they can't even request the connection to begin with? (talking more about devices down the road that are setup with it out of the box... lack of the app on existing devices could be explained by claiming that you are not allowing your devices to update)


    Maybe I'm just paranoid.... now where did I put my foil hat?????
  8. nikecar
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    nikecar New Member

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    who's to say by rejecting the usage, its still not used?
  9. Trusstopher
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    Trusstopher DF Super Moderator

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    For the most part... I rely on the community at large to be the ones to say so. For all the people who try to do shady stuff on the corp. side I'm a firm believer that there are just as many people out here watching and waiting to blow the whistle, just like what happened with CarrierIQ.
    1 person likes this.
  10. vatothe0
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    vatothe0 New Member

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    Who's to say they're not already using an app you can't see to listen to your microphone at all times and see through your camera?
    tin-foil-hat.jpg
    2 people like this.
  11. cereal killer
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    cereal killer DF Administrator Staff Member

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    thats pretty easy to do actually. We have software on the forums after you log on that enables us......wait!! No! I meant that we..you know...of course not!! We don't do those things!!! Seriously...I swear!!!

    Yeah that would be pretty stupid and illegal to do to say the least. BTW Vato where did you get that pic on the wall behind you? It's pretty awesome.
  12. vatothe0
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    vatothe0 New Member

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    Oh that? Just a picture of tubgirl.
  13. gmorgan056
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    gmorgan056 New Member

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    Idk, until we know more about how this new tool works, I instructed my wife who has a Charge, not to install the update.
  14. cereal killer
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    cereal killer DF Administrator Staff Member

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    Problem is it's going to burn through her battery until she accepts it. It will keep prompting her and using up a lot of juice. Just an FYI in case she complains :)
  15. metalspring
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    metalspring New Member

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    Im not so sure, dont forget you can disable apps on ics which im sure is almost the same as freezing them or uninstalling them so any phone that updates to ics has a ready-made excuse right there
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  16. sanchanim
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    sanchanim New Member

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    Even more scary in my opinion.

    Verizon is using a modified version of logmein. Not saying it is bad. Kind of scarry that SCRs could login remotely and basically have remote access to my phone!
    At least with Carrier IQ you knew it was pulling a given set of data based off of the phone and that was it. You can see what options the carriers have by reviewing the document on their main web site. What the CSR's can see while remotely logged in is I am assuming everything which I would not care for.
    I also have concerns. Yes they say the end user must agree for the CSR to connect, but what protections are they taking in regard to users names and password to login? Also what prevents a malicious update from putting the app into stelth mode so someone really could login with out you knowing.
    I am not saying logmein it evil. I use it for my desktop and laptop systems, but what I do want to know is how Verizon is protecting it's users from potential risks.
  17. onmyway
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    onmyway Member

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    Can I pick this thread back up? Good. I had a run in with a 2AM Droid 4 reboot from airplane mode in 2013. I caught it because all my friends here trained me to see whats running and if is a new downloaded application remove it. I found not the weather application waking me up but a verizon diagnostic tool running on my phone. The icon is a gray ninja turtle head with a black blindfold with eyes cut out to see. Now I found it because the reboot and motorolas proud DROID voice on reboot woke me up. Diabetic child, alarms set on phone to test his bloodsugar in the night, not cool. I called Verizon the next day they checked into it, apologized, admitted it was fishy, I kept my eye on it. No major issue since as I was aware.

    Fast forward, I have killed two droid fours since then and am on third one. You learn something new each day, right? Past few weeks some alarm keeps waking me up at 2:15 AM. It is not set. I have just been dealing with it because life gets crazy and sometimes I just ride the wave, but yesterday when I was in my hammock on the back porch, and I had previosuly removed one alarm installation, and I was emailing a cousin my droid rebooted mid sentence. "Alright", I thought to myself, "figure this out." What's running on the new phone at reboot? Diagnostic tool. Long story short? I have read Verizons Cyber crime report that was done for a group meeting and I am not a fan of rogue tools.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2014
  18. onmyway
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    onmyway Member

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    Not it. I have three screen shots of this demon on my phone running, or in cache modes, and I have to call Verizon. Not once has it asked permission. So, square one.
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