Opera Software has announced the new privacy mode for its Opera Max data manager app is now available for all Android users. The company last month had announced the start of a gradual rollout, beginning with incorporation into the S Secure mode on Samsung Galaxy J5 Prime and Galaxy J7 Prime smartphones.
The new privacy mode on Opera Max is an extension of the data usage timeline the app already offered, and now shows privacy timeline when smartphones apps share data with third parties, and flag those apps that send out excessive requests. Opera claims with the new privacy mode all data shared by apps is now encrypted and anonymised, "providing an extra layer of industry-standard TLS/SSL protection on top."
"Most people would not reveal their credit card details or full name to employees of a physical store where they live when shopping and browsing for products. But, on mobile apps, people are not aware that this kind of information can be shared," says Sergey Lossev, Head of Product, Opera Max. "That is why we have implemented privacy mode in Opera Max. We want to educate our users by revealing which apps are sharing your data through trackers without your permission."
Users can see real-time privacy alerts via the privacy timeline, and also look at individual apps to see a breakdown of what it did in that session. The privacy-focused Opera Max is also claimed to block web and ad trackers based on the open source EasyPrivacy filter list.
Finally, the upgraded Opera Max app will also encrypt and anonymise your app data as well as browsing traffic when you are on public Wi-Fi networks. Notably, not all users are happy about the changes, with users pointing to a new check that pops up every 12 hours and asks users to 'Add Time', failing which, Opera Max turns off. Speaking to TechCrunch, an Opera spokesperson defended the move saying if the app is used only when users need it, it should reduce the load on Opera's servers. The app uses VPN technology to enable most of its services, and maintaining a server is not cheap - thus the ads the company displays in the app as well.