Remote Computer Repair and your privacy


I’ve written about this before, but I’m still pretty amazed that customers allow complete strangers to control their computers without any supervision. The business model, of course, makes sense. Have a bank of technicians working from anywhere in the world fixing a long list of computers simultaneously. While waiting on something to load on computer A, they move on to computer B, and so forth.

The problem is, you don’t know these people working on your system and you can’t always see what they are doing. While most are professional and competent, there is simply no way of knowing. In fact, the person you talk with over the phone may not actually be doing the work.

While we do remote computer repair, we never do it for new clients, but only for clients we know and have met before. It’s in everyone’s best interest to know who is working on your computer..

Apparently this Dell technician had a problem with falling in love with the people he was on the phone with. He not only took nude pictures of a client from her computer, but took that client’s credit card information in order to buy gifts for yet another customer on Valentines day. Seriously.

This woman assumed since the person represented Dell, she should do anything he asks and anything he was doing on the computer was sanctioned by his employer. So wrong. I wish I could say this is an isolated incident, but it isn’t.

I pride myself on our privacy and security policies. Any technician that works on your computer has had a full background check. They are instructed not to discuss or comment on anything they see on the computer or in your home. We are there to help you, not look at your stuff. I tell clients your computer knows more about you than your bartender, your hairdresser and your preacher combined. We take that trust seriously. Not everyone that works on your computer does.

This, by the way includes national service companies I’ve written about in the past that simply send your request for service out to the lowest bidder. That technician may not be someone you trust in your home. Dell responded to the story and indicated two key points: 1) This was an outside vendor and someone that doesn’t work for Dell 2) The overly amorous technician was not fired, but simply doesn’t handle calls for Dell (I feel sorry for the company and clients he does handle calls for).

Fact remains that if you can’t talk with the technician coming into your home and screen her or him beforehand to your satisfaction, it’s time to find another provider. Because of the nature of remote work, that’s near impossible and why I generally advise against it.

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