Illustration by Maria Chimishkyan

All of those obnoxious marketing emails that crowd your inbox aren’t just pushing a product. They’re also tracking whether you’ve opened the email, when you opened it, and where you were at the time by using software like Mailchimp to embed tracking software into the message.

How does it work? A single tracking pixel is embedded in the email, usually (but not always) hidden within an image or a link. When the email is opened, code within the pixel sends the info back to the company’s server.

There have been some attempts to restrict the amount of information that can be transmitted this way. For example, since 2014, Google has served all images in Gmail through its own proxy servers, which could hide your location from at least some…

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