All those nasty marketing emails filling your inbox aren’t just sending a product. They also monitor whether you open the email, when you open it, and where you were at the time by adding tracking software to the message. Type “email tracking” into your search engine and watch all software applications appear.
There are several methods used to monitor emails. For example, one of the simplest is the referral link. Let’s say you click on a link in a promotional email that leads to a page for a product you want to buy. The link is coded to be traceable; it will go to another server with various data such as which browser you are using or where you clicked the link before it takes you to the article.
But while detecting a redirect link is pretty easy (for one thing, you can usually spot all the additional code appended to the URL), there are other methods that aren’t so obvious. The method we’re reviewing here is tracking pixels.
How does it work? A single tracking pixel is embedded in the email and is usually (but not always) hidden within an image or link. When the email is opened, the code within the pixel sends the information back to the company’s server.
Some attempts have been made to limit the amount of information that can be transmitted in this way. For example, since 2014, Google served all images through their own proxy servers, which can hide your location from at least some tracking apps. extensions like ugly mail and PixelBlock It was developed to block trackers in Chrome and Firefox. There are also alternative browsers that emphasize privacy, such as Brave and Tor Browser.
There’s also one simple step you can take to avoid most trackers: stop your email from automatically uploading images, because images are where most of those pixels are stored. you won’t be able to avoid all This way you will stop many, but many, trackers that may be hidden in your email.
Disable automatic image upload on computer
- Click the gear icon in the upper right corner.
- Click on “See all settings”.
- In the “General” tab (first one), go to “Images”.
- Select “Ask before viewing external images”.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Save Changes”.
Note that this will also turn off Gmail’s dynamic email feature, which makes email messages more interactive.
Disable automatic image upload on a mobile device
- In the Gmail app, select the three-line icon in the upper left corner.
- Scroll down and select “Settings”.
- Select the email account you want to fix.
- Scroll down and select “Images”.
- Select “Ask before displaying external images (also disables dynamic email)”.