Opera Software launched Monday a new unlimited VPN app for iPhone and iPad. Virtual private networks can improve online privacy in large free-wifi areas, such as campuses and workplaces. Executives at the company said that everyday people are being restricted from using social media sites.

Students and workers are often frustrated by network restrictions in study places and offices. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp are just part of the list of commonly blocked sites, said Chris Houston, President of Surfeasy, Opera’s VPN division.

Opera Software launched Monday a new unlimited VPN app for iPhone and iPad. Photo credit: Tech Media Street
Opera Software launched Monday a new unlimited VPN app for iPhone and iPad. Photo credit: Tech Media Street

“The same goes for video-streaming sites. With the new Opera VPN app, we help people to break down the barriers of the web and enjoy the internet like it should be” said Houston in a press release issued Monday.

Opera VPN is the first iOS app that offers free VPN connection without data limits, developed by the Norwegian company. Other features include the removal of ad-tracking cookies that follow users around the web, in order to enhance searching privacy.

The new app is only available in select markets in English, Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. On the other hand, users can select one out of five virtual locations to connect.

Options to select a VPN include the U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Singapore and The Netherlands. The service is possible due to the company’s acquisition of SurfEasy, Inc. Opera said it has more than 350 million internet consumers worldwide.

Opera has added free built-in VPN to its desktop browser for developers

Late April, Opera issued a new update for the developer version of its desktop browser. It now offers a free VPN client with unlimited data usage. Other major browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox do not offer a similar feature.

Instead, users need to install third-party extensions that charge a monthly fee, depending on data consumption. According to Opera’s Senior Vice President Krystian Kolondra, everyone deserves to be private online, if they wish so.

He explained that the new integrated VPN option would prevent users to download extensions from unknown third-party providers. The company also added paid features such as IP hiding. The latter makes it difficult for websites, to identify a computer, said Opera.

The developer version allows users to select virtual private networks from the U.S., Canada, and Germany. Nonetheless, more locations will be added in the mass version of the desktop browser.

Internet users in the United States are concerned about internet privacy

Last year opera purchased SurfEasy, a Toronto-based online privacy company. Unlike Google, Opera’s major concern is user’s privacy. In the United States, 90 percent of users are concerned about their online privacy, according to the 2015 TRUSTe US Consumer Confidence Index.

86 percent of those users have taken security measures to protect their privacy. Lars Boilesen, CEO at Opera, said that people are continuously wondering whether they can trust the internet these days, or not.

“Privacy and security have always been top of mind for Opera`s users, making the acquisition of SurfEasy a seamless fit. Opera has evolved beyond our browser roots and this step will add a critical building block towards a broader portfolio of applications,” he said.

In February, the Norwegian company was purchased by a consortium of Chinese firms, under a $1.2 billion deal. The People’s Republic of China blocks users from accessing websites such as Twitter and Facebook. However, thousands use VPNs as an alternative.

Opera VPN for iOS is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.

Source: Opera Software Press Release