Analyzing the eMail Tracking Ecosystem @ GPN 2019


These days, tracking on websites is old news - we all know that it is happening, and we have our established defenses like ad blockers. However, website-based tracking tells only half the story, because many companies also track their eMails to see if you open them, and if you click any links. This area of online privacy has been mostly overlooked in the past, and not a lot of defenses exist. We’re trying to at least make this tracking visible by building an automated eMail newsletter analysis platform that you can use right now to find out if your favourite newsletters are tracking you. Similar to our previous project on web tracking, the PrivacyScore Platform (previously presented at MRMCD’17), we are looking to crowd-source a large dataset to establish a birds-eye view on the eMail tracking ecosystem. Anyone can sign up a new newsletter, and we will automatically analyze it and make the results available on our website, In this talk, we will give an introduction to eMail tracking, present the technology that powers the PrivacyMail system, and show first results from our analyses.

Karlsruhe, Germany
Max Maass
PhD Student in IT Security

My research interests include transparency and its applications in improving privacy and security.