15 de agosto de 2019

Vivaldi to stop using unique user IDs in upcoming versions of the browser

Vivaldi's Julien Picalausa revealed in a new post on the official Vivaldi Blog that the company will stop using unique user IDs in upcoming versions of the web browser.

The company uses the unique user ID for user counting; the use if unique IDs, regardless of the purpose of using it, is always met by privacy concerns. The main reason for that is that unique IDs may be used to create user profiles, track users, or identify users especially if other data is available.

Companies like Vivaldi rely on data for a variety of reasons: from prioritizing development to better understanding the user base. Vivaldi is open about its business model and accurate user numbers help with the company's main monetization model partner deals.

Tip: check out our review of the Vivaldi browser here.

vivaldi 2.6 user profiles

Vivaldi has been aware of user concerns in regards to the use of a unique ID to count users and started to work on an alternative user counting function several months ago which it plans to use in desktop versions of the Vivaldi browser and the upcoming Android version.

The process to migrate away from using the unique ID begins with the release of the next stable version of the web browser, Vivaldi 2.7. Vivaldi Technologies won't remove the unique ID in that build as it still needs it to verify that the new implementation is as accurate as the old.

Vivaldi 2.7 introduces the new counting method that does not use a unique ID. The company plans to remove the old user counting request from the browser "a few versions later" and remove the unique ID entirely "even later".  Vivaldi notes that the browser will continue to generate a unique ID but that it will be used locally only to count on computers with several installations.  The company plans to release the source code of the new method.

The new user counting method in a nutshell

Vivaldi plans to use the following method instead to count users:

  • Send a request once per day to the server to count user numbers for 24 hour periods.
  • Send requests once per week or month to get weekly or monthly numbers.

The Vivaldi browser will send additional information that Vivaldi requires next to that:

  • When new users run the browser for the first time to get new user numbers.
  • The number of days in which Vivaldi was prevented from reporting (e.g. not run) to get a better picture of returning users.
  • The CPU architecture and screen resolution.

Closing Words

It will take months before Vivaldi will stop submitting the unique ID to company servers. Vivaldi 2.7 will be out soon but the ID won't be removed until a "couple of releases later". New releases need between one and two months of development time suggesting that the change might make it in a Vivaldi version released at the end of the year or beginning of next year.

Now You: What is your (general) take on the use of unique user IDs? (via Techdows)

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☛ El artículo completo original de Martin Brinkmann lo puedes ver aquí.

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