Opera Max’s New Privacy Mode

The overall concept is definitely worthwhile, but since this new privacy feature actually collects a good deal of personal data itself, the execution leaves a bit to be desired.

Opera Software has started the roll out of a new Privacy Mode feature for the data compression application Opera Max for Android. Privacy Mode goes hand in hand with Opera Max’s data compression functionality. As you may know, all traffic is tunneled through Opera servers using Opera Max. This is done primarily to reduce data usage, and was first introduced back in 2013 as a standalone version of Opera’s Off-Road mode.

Opera Software improved Opera Max several times since then. New functionality included options to block apps from using WiFi or Data connections, Netflix video stream savings, and music streaming savings.

Private Mode

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The new Private Mode feature falls in line with Opera’s strategy to bolster security and privacy in its browsers and applications.

The company launched an ad-blocker not long ago in the Opera browser for instance.

The new version of Opera Max ships with a privacy timeline designed to make the data usage of applications more transparent to the user.

One of the big issues that privacy conscious Android users phase is that it is difficult to find out which applications invade privacy, and which don’t.

Opera Max keeps track of that using the popular EasyPrivacy filter list. Basically, what happens is that Opera Max checks if an application tries to connect to any of the servers listed on the filter list, and if it does, records that activity.

The timeline lists  those activities in chronological order, and provides information about the number of total requests.

Opera Max rates each request as a high, medium, or low risk for each app individually when you tap on an app name in the timeline.

To see real-time privacy alerts, we encourage you to scroll up and down the privacy mode timeline regularly and also tap on individual timeline cards to see the “privacy breakdown” of what an app did in a particular session. This is a useful tool to let you know when your apps put your private data at risk.

The new version of Opera Max features an encryption option on top of that. Opera does not reveal a lot about it, only that you may activate it in the new version with the tap of the button to protect traffic while connected to a public Wi-Fi network.

Now, with privacy mode in the new version of Opera Max, you can encrypt your app data and browsing traffic on Wi-Fi with a tap of a button. This offers you an additional layer of privacy and security so that you can have peace of mind when connecting your phone to public Wi-Fi networks.

The new update rolls out currently with no word on when it is available for all Android devices.

One downside to using Opera Max is that the app collects quite a bit of data itself as outlined in the privacy policy. This includes among other things unique identifiers, installed software, device characteristics, location and mobile carrier information, and URLs you visit.

Closing Words

Users of Opera Max will certainly find the new features useful as they provide information on the application’s that connect to tracking servers, and may provide extra security when connected to public or unsecure networks.

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