The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity

Feb/14

13

Gmail plugin enables tracking when and where you open your email.

Email in crosshairs

A Stranger Can Find Out Where You Are By Getting You To Open An Email – On The Media

The ability to use remotely loaded images in HTML emails for tracking has been known for years, but perhaps not widely known.

The On The Media: TLDR podcast just re-surfaced the issue in the above article, where they talk about a free Gmail plugin called Streak, which provides this capability.

It automatically embeds the hidden images in emails you send, then lets you see when and even where the recipient opens them.

Because they appear to use IP address based locations, you can block the “where” part by using Anonymizer Universal.

You can block this tracking completely by turning off the loading of images in your emails. Of course, if you then choose to load images, know that you are also enabling tracking. If you block image loading you will also find that your email become much less attractive and significantly more difficult to read.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook and Google+.

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2 comments

  • A.Noha · June 6, 2014 at 2:02 am

    Hello all,

    We developed a chrome plugin that enable email encryption with ease ! Jumble encryption plugin melts with your gmail account and strongly encrypts your emails before they are sent or stored online.

    This is a free service we created or internet users, it is live and downloadable on the Chrome web store. We look forward to see feedbacks and suggestions to know how to improve it.

    Learn more at : http://www.jumble.io or clic here

  • Author comment by Lance Cottrell · June 6, 2014 at 5:43 am

    This looks interesting, but there is not nearly enough information about the security design on the website. Without much more detail about the protocol and the PKI I could not endorse it.

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