More Smoke and Mirrors from Verizon

By Richard Mirgon, Public Safety Consultant

There was recently published an article about Verizon announcing their new public safety app store. Public safety should understand that this app store is marginal and nothing more than a list and access to a miscellaneous collection of public safety related applications. This site is dangerous to public safety and users should read the User Agreement which says Verizon is not responsible for anything. Here is a sample from that User Agreement:

“Vendor Content may contain errors, bugs, design flaws or other problems that may not be corrected by Verizon in providing Vendor Content; 2.1.2 Verizon may not have tested Vendor Content (including security information) and Customer’s use of any Vendor Content is at Customer’s sole risk. Vendor Content may result in unexpected results, loss of data, project delays or other unpredictable damage or loss to Customer;

“Customer further agrees that VENDOR CONTENT IS PROVIDED SOLELY BY A VENDOR CONTENT PROVIDER, AND VERIZON IS NOT A PARTY TO ANY AGREEMENT BETWEEN CUSTOMER AND A VENDOR CONTENT PROVIDER. 2.2 LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. CUSTOMER AGREES THAT IN NO EVENT WILL VERIZON BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOST REVENUE, LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION AND THE LIKE OR FOR ANY SPECIAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES HOWEVER CAUSED AND REGARDLESS OF THE THEORY OF LIABILITY ARISING OUT OF THE INSTALLATION, USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE VENDOR CONTENT OFFERED THROUGH THE VERIZON PUBLIC SAFETY APPLICATIONS PORTAL.”

So what it says is if you use any apps or the portal and someone dies, gets hurt or something goes wrong, don’t blame them. Now in all fairness there are good apps from excellent companies but as a company that claims to support public safety this is dangerous. Since there is no certification as FirstNet does, this store will include apps that drain your battery, have security holes, bloated code and may impact valid apps you are using. What is going to protect the user of this app store from third party developers adding apps that are built by foreign governments or drug cartels? This could include anything from apps that track first responders to apps that spy on other data on your public safety device. You wouldn’t know because Verizon doesn’t certify the apps.

One of the significant benefits to FirstNet is their process for certifying apps.  They are tested for security holes, hidden tracking, excessive battery drain or any other abnormality. For an app to be listed on FirstNet you must pass a series of tests as mentioned and more. It may be rigorous but it is designed to protect you the first responder.

This Verizon app store is nothing more than a lame effort to lead public safety to believe it is the same as FirstNet. Let’s call it for it is, more of Verizon’s ME-TOO effort. Public safety should not allow itself to get sucked into these ME-TOO programs by other carriers that are meaningless at best and in some cases dangerous.

Richard Mirgon is a Public Safety consultant focused on FirstNet. He is a Past President of APCO International and has over 35 years of public safety and first responder experience. For more information about the author please go to http://www.next-paradigm.com/about/

The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this company or any company with whom the author may be associated.

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