Thanks for your response!
Firstly, I still maintain that a reputation/rating system for users/assistants would be an effective security measure (though imperfect) like it is on Ebay. This has allowed Ebay to be very succesful.
Secondly, Microsoft already built alot of security features into Remote Assistance (even more in Vista Remote Assistance) - many settings that can be manipulated to provide safeguards on many levels. This could be explained in the forum for beginners. Remote Assistance is a Microsoft utility - to answer your question about the particular technology. All the forum is doing is contacting you with someone who wants to help by RA. It does not employ any remote technology of its own. After contact has been made, RA sessions are initiated by email or IM.
Thirdly, you can supervise the entire session! You can see everything the assistant is doing on your screen. This is a kind of natural protection. It would be kinda difficult to get into personal files while the owner was right there watching!
As far as hardware/software support, yes. Hardware could be diagnosed, configured, setup, adjusted, etc by remote. However, physical switches, dipps, cabling would obviously not be adjustable by remote. But atleast one could eliminate soft issues as the problem.
You should come to the forum. I`m giving admin privs to people that are contributing in any way!