Spy pixels in email becoming the new normal

The use of “invisible” tracking tech in emails is now “endemic”, according to a messaging service that analysed its traffic at the BBC’s request. 66% of emails sent to its users’ personal accounts contained a “spy pixel”, even after excluding for spam. Emails pixels can be used to log: (1) if and when an email is opened, (2) how many times it is opened, (3) what device or devices are involved, (4) the user’s rough physical location, deduced from their internet protocol (IP) address and (5) in some cases making it possible to see the street the recipient is on;

This information can then be used to determine the impact of a specific email campaign, as well as to feed into more detailed customer profiles or follow up actions. GDPR requires organisations to inform recipients of the pixels, and in most cases unambiguous and a clear affirmative act of consent. Solely placing something in a privacy statement is not consent, and it is hardly transparent.

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