Dolphin Browser HD is one of the most popular 3rd-party browsers in the Android Market, and with good reason. But an issue with version 6 and the current version 7 have raised the eyebrows of some users over at the ever-inventive XDA-Developers forum. According to forum poster “Fnorder”, the new Webzine feature records every link, search and visited page and sends them to a remote server. If true, the breach of Dolphin users’ privacy is very disturbing indeed.
UPDATE: In response to the security and privacy concerns, the makers of Dolphin Browser have disabled the Webzine feature. According to the developer, user browsing data was never saved, and users’ security has not been compromised.
The issue only affects Dolphin Browser HD, not the less resource-intensive Dolphin Browser Mini, which does not use the RSS-based Webzine feature. There’s no mention of logging in the app or its end-user license agreement, though mention is made of “user experience data” being collected. There’s also no way to disable the logging within the app, though a few XDA members note that you can exclude the “en.mywebzines.com” server from your Android hosts file via some root-enabled apps.
The accusation is a serious one – theoretically, the company could be recording your phone’s entire web history. After skimming through the EULA, there’s no mention of anything that would stop them from doing so, since it isn’t explicitly outlined. I don’t want to an unwarranted sound an alarm here – there’s no corroboration of Fnorder’s evidence, and neither has their been any indication that any data collected has been used at all. I’ve contacted Dolphin Browser’s developer MoboTap for their input on the matter, but have yet to receive a response from the company.