Internet Privacy Is Dead

I have been thinking a lot about internet privacy these days.

I think I am just getting paranoid in my old age but it’s really troubling how much information is out there and how easy it is to access / track that information. What’s most disturbing to me are those pesky email trackers. Marketing departments of companies use them and the company doesn’t even have to be a big one to use it! Aside from Mailchimp or Freshmail or whatever newsletter service use, there are more insidious ones that you don’t even know of.

For example: if you subscribe to a newsletter and that organization uses Mailchimp or one of these email services, all your clicks and opens will be visible to the company. Not only this, they can see where you opened it, they can see for how long you looked and whether you clicked anything. If you didn’t know this, now you do. At least with these ones you can hit unsubscribe or at least be aware and maybe decide, eh.. so Ikea knows I opened their newsletter. Big whoopdeedoo.

I will be the first to admit that my non-existent newsletter is on Mailchimp and so yes I will be able to see what you do with the newsletter but you can absolutely unsubscribe. And to be honest I don’t even know what I’m supposed to do with that sort of information anyway.

The other types of email trackers though.. those are far more nefarious. You probably don’t even know your email is being tracked. These trackers are sneaky because they use little bits of code to help the sender track the email, sometimes with just a 1 pixel image which you don’t even know is there. The email may be absolutely personal (ie from a real person sending to a real person) yet behind it, that sender can see when you’ve opened the email, how many clicks etc etc. Sort of like Whatsapp where it shows you if someone has read your message, except in stealth email mode.

Scary stuff.

The bad news is there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive way to block these trackers. There are some patchwork fixes which you can find by Googling but so far there isn’t an all in one solution to this invasion of privacy. All this to say, I feel like the law will have to eventually catch up with this. The problem is the law is always two steps behind. And the technology moves so fast, us lawyers are getting whiplash just trying to keep up.

The good news is it’s finally sunny outside today!

Hello Mr. Sun. I have missed you.