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[Solved]Any Reassurances Regarding Security?

  • I see a few topics relating to the sale of the Opera browser to a Chinese consortium, one of which appears to have a rather unsavory reputation when it comes to privacy. There really doesn't seem to be any resolution to the doubts and questions raised in relation to the expectation that an Opera user can have a reasonable expectation of security from prying Chinese government officials and Chinese hackers. Currently I do not have the Opera browser installed since I've yet to convince myself that there is no backdoor built into the browser. I know that no one hear can give a definitive answer to my question but what I'd like to ask you is: how do you deal with this situation? Do you visit your banks, shop online, make comments on political forums and still feel reasonably safe in doing so?

    Thank you for any feedback you can give me to help me determine whether the risk is worth it or not.

  • how do you deal with this situation?

    What situation?

    Do you visit your banks, shop online, make comments on political forums and still feel reasonably safe in doing so?

    Yep, I don't see any problems in doing it.

    Almost all software collects data and/or 'phones home' nowadays, starting by the OS. If I was to worry about it, I wouldn't be using computers.

  • There really doesn't seem to be any resolution to the doubts and questions raised in relation to the expectation that an Opera user can have a reasonable expectation of security from prying Chinese government officials and Chinese hackers.

    It has been discussed already. Opera will remain a Norwegian company and will keep following Norwegian laws.

  • Look, Leo. Thanks for the feedback but saying it "has been discussed already" is hardly any substantive assurance. You know as well as I that Eastern Bloc countries (i.e. Romania, Russia) and China are notorious for their cyber crimes. The situation (i.e. the sale of Opera to two Chinese companies one of which we know has been caught over privacy violations) suggests that we proceed with caution in the use of the Opera browser. When you say that it is subject to Norwegian laws, do you honestly believe that China will obey them? Have you seen in the news how China is essentially thumbing its nose at Vietnam, Brunei, the Philippines and the US as it claims most of the South China Sea islands even though it has no right to them whatsoever? China is huge and powerful and does not abide by our rules. Can you believe that it will follow our laws concerning data gathering and privacy?

  • I think the first real question here is: what kind of assurance would satisfy you - and for how long? If software issued by a company now owned by a Chinese parent is automatically 'suspect' in your estimation, what kind of proof to the contrary do you need - and how enduring would that proof be in the face of continual software auto-updating and evolution?

    A related question would then be: does similar assurance really exist with software emanating from other developers, with regard to their own corporate ownership trees?

    Finally, do you really believe total user privacy can exist with online use of any software you haven't competently designed and vetted yourself?

  • Good questions. Can you answer them and if so, how? I suppose in partial answer to you questions I would say that at some point we all have to exercise faith given the fact that we have not "vetted the software" ourselves. So, to whom do I give that faith? China? Russia? Romania? Norway? Iceland? America? Being American I'm more inclined to the last three and that is based upon evidence of past cyber crimes emanating from China, Russia and Romania as well as the fact that China has proven themselves time and again to do whatever it pleases.

    Let me ask you a question relating to my initial post. Do "you" do your banking and/or shopping using the Opera browser?

  • Thanks for the feedback but saying it "has been discussed already" is hardly any substantive assurance

    What i said is what people from Opera have been saying, so I guess it can be considered a official response.

    he sale of Opera to two Chinese companies one of which we know has been caught over privacy violations

    This is not exactly true. What happened was that because of privacy concerns, the regulatory bodies would take more time to analyze the trade and they (Opera and the Consortium) has a due date for the agreement to be ended.

    So, for the deal to not be canceled, they agreed to make some changes so the approval by regulators would not take that long.

    The situation (i.e. the sale of Opera to two Chinese companies one of which we know has been caught over privacy violations) suggests that we proceed with caution in the use of the Opera browser.

    And why only with Opera? If someone looks into its computer (or tv or phone, etc), s/he will probably find out that it contains parts 'made in China'. Who can guarantee that they are spying on you?

    When you say that it is subject to Norwegian laws, do you honestly believe that China will obey them?

    It's not China that should obey it but Opera. As long as its head office remains in Oslo, Opera will have to follow Norwegian laws no matter who are its owners. Otherwise Opera should had closed since a long time as it would have become a mess it owners from different countries.

    Can you believe that it will follow our laws concerning data gathering and privacy?

    To be honest, I am not really sure if I care about it. I don't really know if I believe in real privacy.

  • Good questions. Can you answer them and if so, how? ... Let me ask you a question relating to my initial post. Do "you" do your banking and/or shopping using the Opera browser?

    Of course I can't answer for you (which was the nature of my first question to you). Only you can determine what kind of assurance will satisfy the levels of concern you personally have about the software. I also noted that any such assurance would have to encompass both current software versions and later auto-updates, so a one-shot vetting wouldn't do. But most significantly, whatever answer might satisfy you would depend greatly on what you personally consider to be real-world 'privacy' when running online.

    Many web users have privacy expectations that simply do not track various of the real-world realities inherent in the technologies associated with modern Internet usage. Moreover, their perceptions of the dangers of who might most be interested in what kinds of their personal data or online behavior may also not track current reality.

    Personally, I do not use any browser to do banking. As far as shopping online, I do it only rarely with either throw-away card numbers or with one very-low-limit regular card dedicated to only such purchases. My various web browsers are all operated from within a very restricted, limited user account with almost no access to anything else on my system. My belief, for many reasons based on experience, is that if I want data privacy, I don't place it or expose it online - period. And where I do interact online, it is carefully vetted first with rich use of artificial personnas.

    Again, it is up to you to define what kind of assurances you want (and whether they are indeed practical in the real world).

  • Since January of this year, Opera has dropped 0.3 % user share while Chrome has risen 4.0 %. I think there is a perception among many users that Opera's security has been compromised by the sale. I don't know that much about browsers to make a reasonable decision which is why I put the question to others. I suppose I'm looking for some scientific and convincing evidence that my fears are unfounded. Research into this has proven fruitless. I know that Google does not have a good track record when it comes to privacy but I suppose most people would rather trust an American company than one now owned by a Chinese consortium. I'm still undecided.

    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

  • Since January of this year, Opera has dropped 0.3 % user share while Chrome has risen 4.0 %. I think there is a perception among many users that Opera's security has been compromised by the sale

    The link you've posted also shows that there was similar drops in other periods. So maybe it's not necessarily related to the Chinese acquisition.

    BTW, number of desktop users increased 4% in the second quarter of 2016 compared with the same period of 2015.

    I don't know that much about browsers to make a reasonable decision which is why I put the question to others. I suppose I'm looking for some scientific and convincing evidence that my fears are unfounded.

    I'm afraid it may be very difficult for anyone here to provide you such evidences.

    You use a product and/or service because you like it, because it fits your needs and because you trust it. All of those points are kinda subjective and even if someone conducted a test to show that Opera remains secure, you would need to trust that person.

  • Leo, you are correct. I'm not sure how I can gain this confidence. Let me put the question to you as I did to Blackbird. Would you use the Opera browser to bank online and do online shopping? I'm asking this of you personally since I've done some forum reading and learned that you know a great deal about both the Opera browser and its history.

  • Would you use the Opera browser to bank online and do online shopping?

    I do shop online kinda often and I always use Opera. Regarding online banking, currently i'm using more my bank mobile app because it doesn't require any extra software being installed on my computer but I would use Opera if necessary, like i have been doing since a long time.

    I'm asking this of you personally since I've done some forum reading and learned that you know a great deal about both the Opera browser and its history.

    Well, i have been using Opera since the 1990's, starting with version 3.5x. And I have been following its development since then.

    So maybe because of this I trust Opera.

  • Thanks. You can close this thread whenever you like. I appreciate the input from everyone.

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