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When a person is shopping for a home, there are certain reasonable assumptions that he/she can make. For example, it would seem obvious that the home would come with a front door complete with a lock. Why? Because a front door serves as a basic object that helps to establish privacy and security. The prospective buyers do not have to ask for a door, it is just common sense that one would be in place as a layer of protection for the buyer.

Clearly, Verizon doesn’t possess this type of common sense.

Verizon’s new SDM Remote Query is activated on all of their new devices and allows Verizon remote access to them. Verizon has the ability to remotely control all aspects of firmware on your phone–including the camera. Also, foundational subscriber information as well as data regarding connectivity issues, network usage, and resources used are all available to be used by Verizon.

Typically, carriers employ SDMs for a seamless end user experience during software upgrades. While this is a legitimate benefit for both customer and carrier, the amount of sensitive data readily available for the carrier to use seems to overshadow the ease of upgrades.

Given Verizon’s history with using customer information in questionable ways, one can assume that this information will be analyzed, used, and dispersed to third-party application providers. Verizon’s use of UIDH (O’Toole, 2014) and “supercookies” (Kastrenakes, 2016) made the industry uneasy and garnered significant fines from the FCC for questionable use of customer data and infringement of privacy rights.

Feeling a little uneasy? Concerned about what Verizon may do with this unfettered access? Well, shoring up your safety and privacy requires you to do some work. Since all devices have this SDM activated, a user needs to login to their customer portal and manually opt out of the SDM for each phone line.

While SDM Remote Query may make upgrades easier, it is clearly enabling the potential misuse and questionable dissemination of your personal information. Opt out of this feature, and lock that door to protect your privacy and security. You know Verizon won’t.

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