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LG Revolution Update Introduces Verizon’s “Remote Diagnostics” Tool, Says It Needs Your Permission to Use It Though

Over the weekend, Verizon pushed a support document to their LG Revolution site indicating that an update was imminent. That update looked normal for the most part and included bug fixes, Verizon Video, and more. What wasn’t normal though, was the section under “New Features” that read “Enhanced customer support with Verizon Remote Diagnostics.” What on Earth could that be? 

From the document we have the following:

New customer care solution to improve device issue diagnosis during customer support calls. When a customer calls into Verizon Wireless Customer Care, this solution, with the customer’s permission, allows support personnel to remotely view the user’s device for troubleshooting and application demonstrations.

The key point to that paragraph is “with the customer’s permission.” It’s essentially a remote login type of service for VZW service reps to use during support calls to better assist you. We have to assume that it’s a piece of software that will sit in the background of your phone that can be activated once you give them the thumbs up. That scare anyone a bit?

In a day when you can’t visit a tech site without seeing something to do with privacy, all we can do is try to take Verizon’s word for it on this one. If it indeed turns out to be some sort of tracking tool that is engaged without customer consent, you can imagine the lawsuit.

Now the big question is, which phones will see it next? And if they do, can we opt out of having it on our phone? As someone that handles their phone without ever having to call customer service, this is something I do not want on any of my phones.

More info.

  • Haxcid

    What is bigger than this is that this update breaks root on the revolution. It appears to patch the zerg rush root method used to root many phones. All available root methods have been tried with the Revolutions VZ8 update and they all fail. I see this update or one very close to it rolling to all Verizon android phones soon. 

  • Justin Garrison

    Scott: Again, I worked for Verizon back in 2009-2010, so I can’t speak to that as it wasn’t a big thing then, or at least not something they were tracking. 

    I know that there is a tab within ACSS (the billing system) that would show you the customer’s software version, but again, can’t speak to their ability to show Custom ROMs. I can tell you they would be in their rights to do so though, since the device is on their network, though that doesn’t necessarily make it “moral” or “correct”.

  • Letz_Shake

    “Verizon Video is Now Preloaded”
    LOLOLOLOLOLOL
    Verizon: Yo dawg, we heard you like bloatware, so we put some bloatware along with your bloatware so your phone can bloat when it bloats.

  • Lavoisier1794

    I can’t speak to the remote diagnostic tool, but my phone became much more stable after installing this update.

  • Justin Garrison

    I thought this was already well-known, but perhaps not. I have a Galaxy Nexus, and each time I’ve had to call technical support (which has been several, due to some voice quality issues I had with the phone), it says something like, “You have a device that allows us to access your device remotely in order to assist with troubleshooting.” or something to that effect and asks if I approve this. This happens AFTER I put my mobile number in, so I have to imagine the Galaxy Nexus already has this since the wording is so device-specific. 

    By the way, Verizon can already view your software version. They could when I worked there in 2010 and I’m sure it’s only become more advanced. And trust me, if you’ve ever worked for a Verizon call center, you would be gleeful about a feature such as this. Verizon (and any other carrier) can already tell exactly where you are, who you call, who you text, and what applications you download. This feature just isn’t scary at all to me, and in fact I find it pretty darn awesome… and possibly even helpful.

    • Tripod4

      Good points, I can see both sides of the story.

      Your second paragraph though….

    • Scott

       So Verizon can tell then if you’re running a Custom Rom without even calling in or giving prior permission?

  • Jesterz

    Now you know why Verizon doesn’t want unlockable bootloaders on phones running on their network.

  • Michael Forte

    So when you call for technical support they can now see the software your phone is running, hmm no thanks.

  • SH

    From a call center point of view, this could be good for all the updates that come with Android. 

    Just think, the phones that are going to get updated to ICS are going to have a lot of customers calling in because something doesn’t function the same anymore. 

    A lot of people here forget that its not always a tech savy person buying these devices.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

    I wonder why the nexus update got pushed back… *hint* *hint* *wink* *wink* *gag*

    • Scott

       If that is true, all the more reason to install a custom rom.

  • Scott

    Kellex, I would be more concerned that they tracked you down at a basketball game.  Was there a consent/permission option for that?

  • Michael_NM

    Whenever VZW touts customer service, they’re actually bragging about control.

  • Spunker88

    I don’t see anything wrong with it being used for support issues. I know when helping people on desktops over the phone its a lot easier to use something like Teamviwer. But will this program end up being used to spy and be another piece of bloat thats always running.

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      That’s the question. Verizon says that it won’t, which is why I would like a way to opt-out of a service like this.

      • Loki

        Two words, Patriot Act. 
        “The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
        From any of your bills, the federal government can derive what type of medication you take, what kind of firearms you purchase and what types of books you read. Even phone companies such as Verizon and AT&T are prohibited from informing you that your conversations are being monitored. The Patriot act is now a law, but certain provisions with in it must be renewed.