[LINK] privacy invasion

Lea de Groot lealink at viking.org.au
Sun Sep 27 09:06:33 AEST 2009

On 26/09/2009, at 1:50 AM, stephen at melbpc.org.au wrote:

> Wonder if Bernie knows and approves of 'BF2.jpg' being used like this?

I think what is actually happening here is that the tracking service  
is also the mail delivery service, so they are supplying all images  
through their services.
They only need *one* image to do the tracking - any more makes no  
difference, but they have a technology for image delivery, so it gets  
used on all the images.

I think it is also important to remember that individual tracking  
would be... unusual under this sort of setup.
The point is to get aggregate data about opening and follow rates.
Without reading up on the specifics of this particular supplier, most  
of these services don't offer the ability to track a particular IP.
and, indeed, generally  there isn't a link between the IP and your  
email account, so they aren't tracking *you*, they are tracking the  
subscribers as a group.

Its not dissimilar to how a web server logs all visits as an automatic  
pat of its operations, in philosophy.
Sure, you can see how every individual visit goes through the site,  
and its possible (but pretty boring) to track a given visitor over  
time. But unless the visitor gives you identifying details, you can't  
tell who they are.

If the original group you are receiving email from recants this stuff  
in their privacy policy, well, they have a problem then, but overall  
there usually isn't a privacy issue with this, its more like the local  
supermarket counting people who come into the centre.

I block external images in my email, but thats because it wastes bw  
and graphics annoy me in a text medium. I have a nice button to turn  
them back on when I want or need to.

~ disclaimer: I haven't actually run an email campaign like this, but  
I probably will at some point, and I will tracking my opening stats as  
part of figuring out whether I am  meeting my subscribers needs or  
not, not to peer on individual subscribers.

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