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The INQUIRER, Andrew Busigin and Opera

A statement
Fri Apr 25 2003, 17:28
ANDREW BUSIGIN who wrote an article for the INQUIRER at the beginning of this week questioning whether "Opera was Spyware!?!" has now said he believes that the article he wrote was incorrect.

In fact, it's worse than that. He says in a note to us and to our readers - that's you, folks: "The best advice I have, is to disregard the article entirely, until a more complete and competent analysis can be properly prepared, reviewed, and published."

He's also said as much to Opera, and it and he have asked the INQUIRER to retract his article and publish an apology.

We're ready to apologise on his and our behalf, given that we're responsible for originally publishing the article, which we did in good faith.

Opera wants us to say that "Opera is not spyware" and that "We cannot reproduce the actions described in the article, and they were not verified or reproduced. Opera was not allowed to comment on the article."

In fact, the earlier article did invite Opera to respond, but we first heard from the firm at the end of this week, although we contacted the firm's PR company after receiving the letters we published in response to Andrew Busigin's letter, in order to give it a chance to reply.

The article raised a warning flag about several anomalies with the Opera browser. The article was not subject to a full technical review. The basic article was checked. What Andrew had written appeared to be honest journalism.

However, several independent sources have since confirmed that, despite the anomalies discussed in the article existing, the Opera browser is not acting as spyware. For instance, as raised in Andrew's article, Opera does use the PGP DLL but that has been shown to our satisfaction to be simply related to a user interface function.

Since the article was published, Andrew has started acting a little erratically. He has said that the article was released "prematurely." He has also made some comments both to Opera and on public forums denouncing his own work.

We are quite happy to apologise to Opera for publishing Andrew Busigin's article. We also wish the company all the best with its endeavours.

Live Leer, Opera's marcomms manager, said: "The Opera browser does not monitor your surfing habits, and it does not gather information about you or your system. You can voluntarily use Opera's ad preferences to receive targeted ads, but you have to enter this information manually in Opera's Preferences. This information cannot be traced back to you. No information will be tracked from the personal information you enter in the personal information or your password manager.

"When Opera connects to the ad servers to download new ads, no information which can identify a person is sent, and everything can be viewed as pure text. There are no attempts to hide the transmitted data.

"The ad module was written by Opera's developers, and contains no code from our advertising partner,". µ


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