Towards Transparency in Email Tracking


Tracking technologies have become ubiquitous, not only on websites but also in email messages. However, while protection and transparency tools exist for the web, no such tools exist for email messages, thus obscuring privacy violations. We introduce the PrivacyMail platform to assist with the automated analysis of email messages. The platform automatically analyzes commercial mailing lists, making it easier to detect different forms of tracking. Our platform introduces transparency about the practices of companies, and serves as a tool for regulators, data protection professionals and consumers alike. Our preliminary results show widespread email tracking, where opening an email can result in information being sent to up to 13 third parties, in some cases disclosing the users’ email address in the process.

Annual Privacy Forum 2019