Vivaldi Technologies AS was accused recently of incorporating spyware in the browser. A user claimed that Vivaldi Technologies incorporated spyware in the browser because the browser connects to https://update.vivaldi.com/stats/piwik.php regularly.
Piwik is a self-hosted analytics software that companies and individuals like to install if they don't want to use third-party hosted services such as Google Analytics. The main advantage of Piwik and other self-hosted solutions is that no one but the company hosting the solution gets access to the data.
It is a fact that the Vivaldi browser transfers data to Vivaldi's self-hosted analytics server. The following paragraphs look at the data that is transferred and how the data is used by Vivaldi.
The "other data", is the browser version, CPU architecture, screen resolution, time since last message and the first three octets of the IP address.
When you install Vivaldi browser (“Vivaldi”), each installation profile is assigned a unique user ID that is stored on your computer. Vivaldi will send a message using HTTPS directly to our servers located in Iceland every 24 hours containing this ID, version, cpu architecture, screen resolution and time since last message.
The company uses the data in the following manner:
The data is sent over an encrypted HTTPS connection.
Privacy conscious Vivaldi users may object to the generating of a unique ID and the lack of an opt-out option the most. This is understandable as companies used IDs in the past to track users.
Vivaldi promises to use the ID only for counting the overall number of users. The company could use different means for that, for instance, the number of devices requesting an update plus an estimate of the number of devices without automatic updates turned on.
It is easy enough to delete the ID though and it is different anyway if you use Vivaldi on multiple devices.
Now You: What's your take on this?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.