Sending emails is one of the most powerful tools employed by big companies, political parties, and international agencies for advertisement and subscription purposes, and with the help of tracking software, these senders are also able to figure out whether their emails are being opened or not.
Emails are embedded with a tracking pixel to keep a track of whether an email gets opened. Once the hidden single-pixel image is loaded, it reports back to the third-party, reports Wired.
The tracking pixels have the ability to report the time and date of when the email was read as well as the location and device being used.
While marketing agencies argue that this type of tracking and data collection helps analyse consumer patterns and interests it still is an invasion of privacy because users are being monitored without their consent.
However, by taking these simple steps you can stop these companies from monitoring you. Firstly, since companies typically track using the pixel method, stop images from loading on your email service.
To do this on Gmail, click on the cog icon which you can find on the top right corner, select the ‘Settings and then 'General’ tab, next to the images section you can select ‘Ask before displaying external images'.
If you are using Mail on macOS, then select Mail, and under the Preferences and then Viewing tab, uncheck load remote content in messages.
For the Outlook Mail program, select the cog icon at the bottom of the navigation pane, then press the ‘Reading pane’ tab and make sure both automatically download external images options are set to off.
You can find similar settings on your phone.
Further, you can also use surveillance blocking software such as Ugly Email, Trocker, and MailTrack that block pixels in your emails and even alert you when the email contains trackers in them giving you more control over your privacy.