back to article Maxthon web browser blabs about your PC all the way back to Beijing

A web browser developed by Chinese company Maxthon has allegedly been collecting telemetry about its users. Polish security consultancy Exatel warns [PDF] that Maxthon is phoning home information such as the computer's operating system and version number, the screen resolution, the CPU type and speed, the amount of memory …

  1. AndyS

    Is this worse

    than virtually every other browser on the market, which leaks information back to the USA?

    Why are we automatically meant to be more suspicious of China than America? Neither have exactly proved themselves the guardians of decency and consumer protection.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Is this worse

      Coming from a company claiming to keep you safe from the NSA, it is worse because they claim protection while doing the same in a different way.

      When it's a lie it's always worse.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Is this worse

      "Why are we automatically meant to be more suspicious of China than America?"

      Let's have a quick browse of today's paper. Top story in China that I could see: Chinese magazine closes as newsroom taken over in dissent crackdown.

      Oh yeah, that's the reason. The US spies on people around the world, and has a serious problem with gun violence. China spies of people around the world, and engages in systematic and brutal oppression of its citizens, eliminating dissent in all forms, and attempting to export such concepts the world over.

      1. Sebastian A

        Re: Is this worse

        China just controls its population in more brutal, overt ways. In the US, it's far more insidious.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this worse

      >Neither have exactly proved themselves the guardians of decency and consumer protection.

      I would say at least the US can change its government but looking at the two choices they can select really hard to make the argument that its a lot better.

  2. TheWeenie

    I don't understand why - halfway through 2016 - this sort of thing is still a surprise.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coming soon to an Opera near you

    1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

      "Coming soon to an Opera near you"...

      ...which is a shame as I was beginning to like Opera developer.

  4. Ru'

    I think the info is in the article; "...Maxthon claimed its browser...offers surfers a safe haven from the prying eyes of America's NSA and its PRISM program..."

    i.e. it's being sold as something "safe" when it's not really.

    1. Neill Mitchell

      "i.e. it's being sold as something "safe" when it's not really."

      It's not being sold at all. It's shiny and free and that's part of the problem with these kind of revelations.

      1. Ru'

        "It's not being sold at all."

        Sorry, I meant "sold" as in that's the compelling case for adaption, rather than monetary transaction.

        1. Ru'

          *adoption

  5. DropBear Silver badge
    Facepalm

    A few days ago I tried looking for an Android browser that can do page reflow - guess what, there are a few free (and wildly popular) ones, and every single one of them has been caught leaking URLs (!) back home at some point in time - so I installed absolutely none of them. Which left only Opera.

    ...oh wait...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shouldn't collect the data without users agreement. But I think the users of Google Chrome or any US based tech product have nothing to worry about privacy. Almost all of the people are living naked in glass box to USA men in black. Some knows about it, most don't. While this kind of farms keep the world worried about China(ruled by communist) or Turkey's(Muslim country ruled by "not slave" elected leader) censorship. They also keep people in 95% dark about their own doing which are many times worse.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "They also keep people in 95% dark about their own doing which are many times worse."

      I just checked, and China and Turkey's human rights violations against their own citizens are in fact worse than the US's, not the other way round. I know the US isn't a squeaky clean bastion of truth and justice, but saying it's "many times worse" than China and Turkey is insane.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The US still has the first amendment for its citizens (rest of the world if you have an Arab name they may kidnap you even in western countries and put you in a black prison or turn you over to their dictator of choice) which means technically you only have to fear retribution from the government for what you say (military and other government employees/contractors aside) if you go abroad where the drones fly. That said the US does tend to put many less citizens in jail for what they say (hell they can say the silliest shit and run for POTUS) than many other countries.

        1. Uffish

          US First Amendment

          So you are saying that my browser can say what it likes about me as long as it was born in the USA?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: US First Amendment

            >So you are saying that my browser can say what it likes about me as long as it was born in the USA?

            Don't get your point at all but original poster was saying people in the US don't get how naked they are to the government (which is true) but pointing out at least for US citizens (not working for US government) hyperbole aside its much less likely that government agents show up, disappear you in the middle of the night and torture you to death for posting Obama sucks on your FB page. That can't be said for other countries leaders even to the point they are kidnapping their own citizens extrajudicially even out of say supposedly semi autonomous Hong Kong for not much worse (some of whom still haven't surfaced).

            1. Uffish

              Re: US First Amendment

              Why are you wittering on about the first amendment to some scrap of eighteenth century parchment when the article was about a browser phoning home (in this case to China)?

              It's not about politics, it's about privacy.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: US First Amendment

                Keep thinking privacy and politics aren't related. The name of the game is information asymmetry. I agree though in general privacy should be the default not something only available to nerds who have to jump through lots of hoops.

  7. David Pollard

    Has anyone witten a guard ring?

    Presumably it's possible to have adjunct software to plug the leaks, a bit like the utilities that are available to stop Windows 10 'phoning home or Adblock Plus.

  8. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    There are no safe browsers.

    Inherit to the protocols used by browsers, you can't keep everything secret. Even if you refuse something coming into your browser, it tells a tale.

    Using the Internet is a lot like going outside in that you cannot expect total privacy.

    ..and get a grip when it comes to the NSA. If you live in a NATO country, your own government does more spying on your country than the NSA does. In many of them, they don't even require a warrant to do so.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are no safe browsers.

      >Using the Internet is a lot like going outside in that you cannot expect total privacy.

      Big difference between privacy from a very well financed state actor and giving every jack wagon company out there including your ISP your browsing history and every piece of info possible about you. What's amazing with a certain generation is the companies get the fools to upload it for them free of charge.

  9. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    WTF?

    OK so its early afternoon and I can't even begin to think about beer O'clock for another five hours but... Could someone explain the meaning of the pastiche Dark Side of the Moon to this bear of very limitrd brain?

    1. Uffish

      Dark Side of the Moon

      It's a prism - as in PRISM.

  10. chasil

    Android version is awful

    Maxthon for Android just wraps new UI controls around the system webkit in /system/lib/webcore.so.

    Webcore *never* gets updates (apart from "rare-as-hens'-teeth" OTAs) on everything up to KitKat.

    Use Maxthon on Jellybean and browse to http://ssllabs.com to see just how bad an Android browser can be. Most of the 3rd party browsers do exactly the same thing.

    If a browser advertises itself as "small and fast," the security generally is terrible.

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