Google make another chink in your privacy armour

Google have made a change to Gmail that erodes user privacy by more than a little bit... They've made images in emails appear automatically and by default - when previously it was up to the user to either accept on a per-mail basis OR whitelist a sender.

The upside is that anyone who sends an email with an image will now be able to see if you VIEW that email. Previously, by blocking there was no way to determine if an email was read. This change plays into the hands of email marketers who will now be able to track active users more accurately and can intensify unsolicited mail being sent to those that are receptive and likely to open them.

Nice of them eh? The only time images WON'T be displayed automatically is if Gmail considers a sender or message potentially suspicious. In this instance, the old user approval system will remain in place.


There have been claims that this marketers WON'T know if you've viewed an email because everything is served and cached by Google - however, Google ONLY fetch the images at the moment the email is opened and if an image URL has unique information for each user, the marketer will see that image in their logs and be able to determine WHICH user viewed the email. They won't see personal information or your IP address but WILL be able to see the fact that the unique email image has been requested.

Category Tech Content

Latest Articles