When Dolphin Browser was caught sending your entire surfing history to its webzine server they got so much bad publicity that they had to clean up their act real quick. You'd expect that they learned something from that fiasco, but they didn't.
Dolphin HD version 7.1.0 was caught spying on the same day that it was released.
The new Dolphin sends your Android ID (a number that stays with your phone forever), a Dolphin client ID, your carrier and phone specifications to https://tracken.dolphin-browser.com.
Well, at least they use encryption. And the information isn't really that sensitive. Still, they frequently grab usage statistics and information about your phone without letting you opt out.
Of course you can opt out yourself. The obvious method is to remove Dolphin from your phone, but then you miss out on all its features which leave the competition in the dust. A better way to stop Dolphin from phoning home is to block the target URL in your Android hosts file. This file is usually in /system/etc/hosts. You can edit it manually, or feed the offending domain names to the blocklist of AdAway. Either way, you'll need root access. The URL to block is tracken.dolphin-browser.com.
To cut the line between Dolphin and its maker add these three lines to your hosts file or block the domains with AdAway:
The first line stops usage stats collection. The second line cuts off URL collection by the webzines server (Dolphin stopped sending it, but you never know if it comes back). The third line prevents the popup that begs you to rate Dolphin in the Android Market.
Phoning home is not the only new feature of version 7.1.0. The update allows importing bookmarks from Dolphin Mini, deleting bookmarks from the side bar, picking a different search engine if you don't like Google (you can choose Bing and Yahoo too), and some bug fixes under the hood. Too bad for Dolphin that its data grabbing will get much more attention than the bookmark and search improvements.
Update: Dolphin finally encrypts your backups!
Gesture commands, tabs, plugins, bookmarks sidebar etcetera make Dolphin an excellent mobile web browser, but the way it handles security and privacy is unacceptable. It shares its bad habits with plenty of other Android apps, so root your phone and protect it with electronic condoms like AdAway, DroidWall, and LBE Privacy Guard. Android and its apps need a permanent reminder that it's your phone and your data.
• Dolphin Browser HD