With 'Block Trackers', Opera 64 Brings Another Weapon To Preserve Users' Privacy

The browser maker Opera has been a supporter of privacy, and has built its business on top of that particular demand.

When practically every business in the internet world wants user data, Opera is one of the few internet companies that go separate ways. Instead of helping others and itself gather user data, Opera goes against anyone who would hope to conduct surveillance on its users.

And this is further highlighted in the release of Opera 64.

Besides adding improvements to the snapshot tool, for better screenshots inside the browser, Opera 64 adds yet another weapon in its arsenal to fight trackers.

The 'Block Trackers' feature by Opera is built on an open-source database of trackers, the EasyPrivacy Tracking Protection List. With it, users can choose to have it available for every website, or deactivate it for specific websites.

That toggle should be useful as some websites block users' access to its contents when ad blocker is enabled.

Trackers are nothing new on the internet.

They are small software used primarily by online advertisers, which allow them to track and follow people as they surf the web. This way, advertising companies can gather data about those people's habit on the web, their interest, and more.

In other words, trackers are the ultimate weapon for advertisers, as they allow them to understand people, and capable of targeting their ads to individuals that really care.

However, these trackers are also horrible.

In privacy perspective, trackers can be used to gather as much data as possible, often by going beyond the boundaries. What's more, trackers can actively undermine people's browsing experience, because websites utilizing trackers can take longer to load.

By blocking them, advertisers won't be able to track users' browsing activities. And because Opera has less work do do by not loading tracking scripts, it allows it to load websites faster. In Opera's words, the tracker blocker can speed up web browsing by almost 20%.

Opera 64 - Block Trackers
The 'Block Trackers' option on Opera 64

According to Joanna Czajka, product manager of the Opera PC browser:

"Once you've looked for a product on a website, that product tends to follow you around to other websites in the form of personalized ads or behavioral tracking. We've decided to help our users understand and manage this situation by putting them in control of the data they share with websites."

But here is the controversy.

Many parts of the web are free to access. Many websites offer free contents with no paywall, allowing visitors to get what they want.

To those websites, trackers are a necessity, as they allow those sites to conduct analytics, as well as target ads. These will translate to income.

Ads are the lube of the web, as they power many of the free things the web has to offer. With the diminishing ad spending by advertisers that is already hurting websites' income, ad blockers are further adding to those websites' pain.

Read: Behind Free Things On The Web: Your Personal Data

But nevertheless, Opera wants to be the browser with privacy in mind.

Despite earning money from Google, which is essentially an advertising company, to make the search engine the default search engine on Opera, it doesn't mean that Opera shares the same principle.

Opera, along with other Chromium-based browsers Brave and Vivaldi, still supports ad-blocker extensions.

Despite Google's Manifest V3 initiative wants to limit them, the three browser makers have rewritten their algorithms to defy Chromium's anti-ad-blocker changes.

This is why Opera continues to showcase features to help its users preserve their privacy.

Opera follows the likes of Mozilla, which has introduced Enhanced Tracking Protection, and Apple with its Safari's Intelligent Tracking Protection.

Published: 
09/10/2019