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May 31, 2005

A Matter of Timing - More Security Complaints

And so I went pretty bitchcakes over the AP story that came out in the past day or so. That done, the press release providing more information came out (they re-used the headers/page title from the previous release - sloppy). Obviously it wasn't cobbled together because I was being picky, but it's nice that it's out. But now that it is, some questions remain. You'd think press releases would be a dime a dozen, and while I see the wisdom in keeping them paced and measured, perhaps this should have come out before the story went live on the AP wire. Someone dropped the ball there.

That done, I go back to one of my previous complaints, that sure, they want to be unambiguous about their message - and it's true, that Opera is safer - but I can't help but think they miss the point of addressing the larger issue, and in so doing set themselves up for a fall. Software will never be fully secure. More features, more problems. However Opera is more secure, and has a better security record, than any other browser out there.

Clarity shouldn't, and doesn't have to, be at the expense of misrepresentation. And it's not just about fulfilling a wider responsibility to tell people that software is inherently unsafe - that patching is mandatory; that's not necessarily Opera's job. But it's in Opera's self-interest to make it clear - secure as Opera is, like all other software, it will still have flaws. The minute you go waving the security banner all over the place is when you're going to get the bitch slapped out of you.

The analogy I choose to use right now is this. If Kerry hadn't been waving the flag quite so much about his Vietnam War heroism, it wouldn't have been quite so big a deal when Swift-Boat people lied about him, and his actions as a war protester got scrutinised the way they did. When you tout yourself so unmitigatedly as being one way and that is so rudely ripped away by facts or innuendo - you have no one to blame but yourself.

I'd have preferred it if they had put it in the broader concept of Speed, Security, Simplicity - so that it's an opportunity to talk about broader issues about how good their browser is, and to minimise an obsession with security, which is more prevalent in some senses than is healthy already in InterWeb society.

There's plenty of nuance in the release, but it is a bit single minded in its emphasis, and the headlines it generates will create to the casual user an inflated sense of expectation. And okay, they sent it to Harris to poll - how is this a "study" though. They polled, or they surveyed. And really, I've read the release a couple of times, I'm still not sure what the numbers are meant to mean, or what point they're trying to make out of it, other than Opera's Secure, Dude.

Posted by subtitles at May 31, 2005 12:41 PM | Opera Boggling