In a perfect world, all our data privacy is secure and untouched. Unfortunately, we don't live there, and there's barely any scope of coming back from where we're now. We've often dealt with hackers and scammers trying to pave their way into our personal information. But what if we tell you there are chances that people can tell when and where your email was opened. Not only that, but they can also determine the number of times it was opened? Sounds scary, doesn't it? But there's a way you can disable this system and make sure your browsing experience is safe. However, before we can jump into the disabling process, here's what you should know about the pixel-tracking system.
What is pixel-tracking?
Most of these email tracking software make use of something known as pixel-tracking. Simplistically put, each of these emails has an invisible image embedded inside them. Each time a user clicks this email, the sender can keep track of how many times you have attempted to open it. Pixel-tracking is also commonly used in cases where the sender wants to determine the number of times a link was clicked. The pixel in question is a 1x1 pixel that loads when a user visits a webpage or opens an email. Since it is that minute, users cannot see it physically embedded in the email. One can identify these pixels after clicking Inspect and then observing the elements of the page.
A pixel-tracking code often looks like this:
What kind of information can a pixel-tracking system track?
OS information (what device you're using, whether it's a phone or PC)
Type of email, a website used. It can also tell if you're using an app or a desktop version.
Type of client used, for instance, a browser or mail program.
Screen resolution of this client.
Time the email was read or website was visited
Activities on the website during a session (when using multiple tracking pixels)
IP address (gives information on the Internet Service Provider and location)
While tracking these pixels is can help website operators, SEOs and email senders gain insight into their content, there's undoubtedly a lot of criticism over the usage of an intrusive system such as this. And as a user, you also have the right to know and refuse pixels on your email. But, of course, there's a good chance that you won't know when your email is preyed on by trackers. So, here are a few easy steps you can implement to dodge sketchy senders. It doesn't matter if you're using Gmail or Apple Mail. Following a few simple steps can help keep your information online slightly safe. Here is what The Bridge Chronicle recommends you do for your browser:
Disable auto-loading of images
A candid way to prevent your email from being tracked is to block images from displaying by default. You can make these changes on your Gmail, click on the Settings tab to open up your email preferences. From the General section, scroll down to images and check the box that says Ask Before Displaying External Images. Scroll down to the end of the page and click Save Changes. Even if you're not using Gmail as your primary browser, you will find these options in your Account Settings. On Apple mail and Outlook, you can find similar options on your app settings where you can make these changes hassle-free.
Other ways to block email trackers
Despite making these changes to your email, there's a good chance that it might slip into your inbox in another form. In fact, you can always keep an eye out for the regular sorts of email trackers that are available on the internet. But yes, there are other ways to block email trackers hounding your inbox.
Not long ago, we spoke to you about extensions that you can use to make your browsing experience better. Some of these extensions can also be used to block your email trackers without a lot of trouble. These include:
PixelBlock: A simple, no-fuss extension that blocks people from tracking your Gmail you open their emails.
Trocker: Available for both Chrome as well as Firefox, Trocker shows you pixel trackers and identifies links on your email that are being tracked.
Ugly Email: Another Chrome extension known as Ugly Email alerts you to the possibility of probable trackers in your inbox before you even open your email.
There's a good chance that these extensions stop your emails from being tracked, but programmers have now become immune to most software blocking their code. That said, it is always a good idea to have these extensions on your email -- only so that we can see how easily emails are tracked in today's times.