Home > Uncategorized > Opera 'Spyware' (sic) edition released

Opera 'Spyware' (sic) edition released

January 19, 2007

Important: Just to make this clear, the Opera browser DOES NOT contain any spyware – I just loved the ‘spyware edition’ headline, and couldn’t resist. 🙂

Not really, but a new experimental edition of the Opera desktop browser was released today on the Desktop Team blog that reports back on the usage of a number of features to Opera.

The Opera browser comes with thousands of features built-in, now the desktop developers would like to know which ones are used and which aren’t. It reports things like what preferences you have enabled or not, whether you use Widgets, etc.

If you’re paranoid about what gets sent to Opera, you could see the report for yourself – it’s located in the profile directory under usagereport/report.xml. You could also turn off this feature by typing in the URL address bar opera:config#UserPrefs|EnableUsageReport. (Hint: You could change lots of other preferences on the opera:config page)

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  1. January 19, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    I had read the Desktop Blog earlier, then when I saw your headline I laughed my ass off, ha.

  2. sc
    January 20, 2007 at 5:38 am

    Just to add some information: borg from Opera stated that:

    We may keep the reporting functionality in the next final, but in that case it will be opt-in, this is definitely not something we turn on by default in a final version.

  3. Bo
    January 20, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Great feature, but I hope it will be turned off by default in the final. Or asked at first start like fraud protection.

    BTW: The Banner on the right underlaps this comment-field.

  4. January 20, 2007 at 7:50 am

    Do I sense that functions will start to drop out of Opera now? Or a serious rearranging of the user interface (+ shortcuts)?? Or a change in what functions will be on or off by default in Opera???

  5. January 20, 2007 at 9:36 am

    I can see the use for this feature, and understand why it have been implemented. But I really think there should be a dialog box on startup asking “would you like to submit usage statistics to Opera Software for this session?”

  6. Rhonnysparks
    January 20, 2007 at 11:13 am

    I can see the use for this feature, and understand why it have been implemented. But I really think there should be a dialog box on startup asking “would you like to submit usage statistics to Opera Software for this session?”

    There is a warning dialog that appears when you first run Opera which tells you that this build collects anonymous usage statistics and tells you how to disable it. And having looked at the usage report myself, the information is really qualitive; mostly storing whether or not you have a feature enabled and also storing number of things you have (like wand passwords, widgets, feeds). Nothing to be worried about 🙂

  7. Grey
    January 20, 2007 at 1:06 pm

    As far as I understood it, it won’t be integrated into stable builds (for now). So this is just for weekly testers, which do not need such a box (or at least shouldn’t).

    @Daniel: Great name for the article, btw.

  8. January 20, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    This is great but they probably have to ask first if implemented in common releases. I mean people used to think that Opera was spyware back in the days when it had ads…

  9. January 20, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    At least this build is just a weekly… and yes, there was a prompt dialogue that notified users that this had a reporting feature in it. However, I do believe opt-in or have a check/uncheck box right on the opening dialogue would have been better. All the same, I don’t mind sending Opera a few numbers. Fraud protection is more revealing than this usage report.

  10. Ryan
    January 20, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    If this is opt-in, the developers better make sure it’s clearly spelled out what it does. Sort of like what Google does with the “it’s not the usually yada yada.” It would be better to keep the option out of the installer though, because many people just click through them without much thought. Like IceArdor said, it should be in an opening dialog so that people are more alert to what is happening.

  11. January 20, 2007 at 6:34 pm

    Have you tried the latest weekly??? There IS an opening dialog asking if you agreed with Opera sending your stats…

  12. Ryan
    January 20, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Have you tried the latest weekly??? There IS an opening dialog asking if you agreed with Opera sending your stats…

    Haven’t tried it yet. Nope. 😛

  13. Roberto
    January 20, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    It is great to contribute features but What about the interface?

    That is the important thing, to deliver a “dialog” or “language” with every user expertise (Not necessary drooping / restoring functions). Look Apple’s OS, even when its fans have to learn a lot of shortcuts and deal with all kind of overlapped windows, they say it is “friendly” and “easy”.

  14. Hmm
    January 21, 2007 at 5:36 am

    Roberto, what on earth are you trying to say?

  15. Steve Barker
    January 21, 2007 at 6:15 am

    Could it be set up to report the sites that will not let Opera/other browsers in; and have messages like, ‘Compatible with Internet explorer and Netscape only.’

    However, these sites work, identified as Opera, when you you get past the front page.

    An e-mail from Opera, and other browser makers, might help. As an individual, it has taken ages to get just one site
    http://www.tuningsanspermis.com changed.

    Steve B

  16. Kamalesh
    January 21, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Hilarious headline, Daniel! haha.

    Yeah, great idea by the Opera desktop team.

    Just as quick warning, be sure to back up your [wand.dat] file, because when I installed v9.12a on my MacBook and XP machine, it blew out my wand info…no fun.

  17. Roberto
    January 21, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    Hmm:

    The way to interact with a feature is as much important as its function, the same that how such way is perceived by the user.

    The comments about features may be ineffective when they can not consider the interface to be used.

    The example tells how a complex functionality may have a good perception.

  18. Darken
    January 22, 2007 at 12:35 am

    @ Kamalesh: Installed on 2 computers and all works fine. No data lost. 🙂

  19. January 22, 2007 at 1:26 am

    [off topic]

    so, Daniel, any word back on why Opera doesn’t disclose fixed security vulnerabilities that are not discovered by 3rd parties?

    – A

  20. Nathan
    January 22, 2007 at 2:28 am

    Great title! When I read that at first I thought opera would contain a build in spyware scanner…
    (I’ll love that idea though… Downloads scanned for spyware as soon as you start downloading…, maybe an option so existing spywarescanners can be used for this and a report after finished?…)

    Err… anyway…

    I love that feature, but I’ll just wait for the final version though and see if ‘the collect data’ is in that one too…

  21. Yehudah Goldstein
    January 22, 2007 at 6:31 am

    I want to send HTML emails from Opera.

  22. January 22, 2007 at 11:23 am

    Asa: at the moment I see no real benefit in disclosing security issues we’ve found internally and fixed. Particularly since we don’t have a proper auto-update such a practice would actually cause serious risk for users who haven’t upgraded. I’m no policy maker but what we do makes much more sense than what you suggest.

  23. January 22, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Hallvord, are you still working for Opera? Would it bother you if I quoted you on that?

    Are you suggesting that by hiding the fact that users who haven’t upgraded are on even less secure ground than they understood from your release notes, that those users are better served?

    In light of the failure to inform users of two critical security vulnerabilities in pre-9.1 releases, doesn’t that practice just compound the problem of misleading users into believing that they’re on a safe enough version of Opera when they’re clearly not?

    Is it your belief that security issues found and fixed internally cannot be found and exploited externally to the detriment of unprotected users who haven’t upgraded?

    And, Daniel, if Hallvord’s statement isn’t the official position of Opera, can you still try to get me an official statement?

    – A

  24. January 22, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Asa:

    Daniel’s contact information is in the right sidebar of this page. I recommend you use it rather than posting in an off-topic thread.

  25. January 22, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion, Tim. Maybe Daniel could have occasional open threads so that we can have transparent and public discussions rather than resorting to behind the scenes email.

    – A

  26. January 23, 2007 at 4:22 am

    Asa, I think Tim has a good point. We could avoid a lot of misunderstandings if we communicate to each other directly before going public with assumptions.

    We have good experiences with direct communication with some of the technical teams in Mozilla.

    You probably know about the MyOpera forums where we have transparent and public discussions with our core user base. Wanna join? 🙂

  27. January 23, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Steve Barker, there is a “report site problem” in the help menu for sites that are problematic. The Open the Web team get that information, and try to chase down the problems (although your help is still appreciated – they are a finite number of people and want to be allowed to sleep still 🙂 ).

    But you might have to upgrade to a more recent, more secure version of Opera to have that functionality 🙂

  28. Bungie
    January 24, 2007 at 11:18 am

    Why doesn’t Asa just do what every other decent human being would do, namely to have some of his people talk directly to Opera?

    Now, we know that Asa hates Opera and all, but other people in Mozilla seem to have a nice relationship with Opera. Why can’t Asa let them take care of any contact with Opera?

    I guess Asa isn’t interested in that. He just wants to find something to bash Opera over.

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