Also known as 1 × 1 pixel trackers, they’re the data vampires that go undetected in your emails.
It’s getting harder and harder to keep your online activities private. Everyone — governments and commercial organisations alike — wants to know your opinion, what you like or dislike, what you do or don’t do online and all your social interactions.
1. Unlike cookies, email trackers don’t need your permission
But nothing similar exists for email trackers and that makes its use a free-for-all. Worst still, we don’t even get an option or a right to opt out.
2. You can’t tell if your email has a tracker
When an email arrives in your inbox, there’s nothing to indicate an embedded tracker is in the email.
The tracker itself is essentially an image, it’s transparent and it’s only one pixel by one pixel in dimension, which makes it invisible and undetectable to the naked eye.
Without some kind of software filter or detector, you would be none the wiser.
3. The information that trackers can collect
When the recipient opens the tainted email, the mail client or browser automatically contacts the server to source the transparent image.
At a minimum, that request is logged, along with the IP address, to indicate that the email has been opened.
But for those with more nefarious intent in mind, the image server could also instruct the email client or browser to report on:
- who, when and how many times the email was…