The world is going Orwellian; individual freedom is shrinking; Big Brother and Co. are snooping into all our lives. In such a scenario, especially after Ed Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance by the USA’s National Security Agency, most of us would rather cover our tracks on the Web, and leave no crumbs for the State, advertising companies or Web publishers to track. While we can cut back on using the Internet for sensitive communications, we cannot at the same time let worries about surveillance hinder our Internet usage. So the way forward is to educate ourselves on internet security and privacy, ditch services with inadequate privacy protections and adopt privacy-enhancing technologies. Like Dolphin Zero. This mobile browser from Dolphin for Android, released tonight (18 December 2013) worldwide, promises to let us browse the internet securely.
The makers say that it would bring “peace of mind to smartphone users who wish to keep their personal information as safe as possible, by automatically deleting data including browsing history, cache, passwords and cookies that are otherwise saved on the device.” The product was made to capture the ephemeral nature of apps like Snapchat. Now Dolphin Zero will let users browse the web on their mobile devices, then clear their digital footprints at the click of a button.
The key difference
Most other private browsers or browsing modes collect data on the user from the get go. This is done on the sly, without appropriate consent from the user. Even the popular ones like Google Chrome Incognito mode and Firefox private browsing mode do that.
“Dolphin Zero gives the users complete control over the information they are browsing. The stripped-down feature set and single-screen capability maximizes the browser’s ability to protect users’ privacy by automatically deleting any information and data when the user exits the browser,” say Team Dolphin Zero.
“With web security being such a salient issue right now, people are feeling less and less confident that companies are respecting user privacy,” said Dolphin’s VP Edith Yeung. “Even though it’s impossible to go completely untracked on the mobile web, we have done everything to make a new product that goes beyond anything that you will find in the market right now,” she added.
They have included Do Not Track support, going out of the way to never collect, store or share any of the information like form data, browser history, passwords, cached data and files, favicons, input data, user address book, cookies and location information.
The brains behind it
Dolphin, which was developed by MoboTap, a mobile technology company, has been downloaded over 80 million times across Android and iOS phones and tablets. Currently, it is the only gesture and voice enabled browser available. MoboTap is backed by leading venture capitalist firm Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners and Qualcomm.
With privacy being their primary focus, Dolphin has picked DuckDuckGo, a private search engine that does not track you in their default mode. DuckDuckGo, which launched in 2008, has seen a huge surge in traffic after the NSA snooping news became widely known. While bigger search engines like Google and Bing track user behaviour and share that data with advertisers, DuckDuckGo promises that when you search, they “don’t know who you are and there is no way to tie your searches together.”