The end of email privacy is upon us. New software allows users to learn an increasing amount of information about you just by sending you an email. Jacki Bryk has the details about why your inbox won’t ever be the same.
JACKI: You might want to pause before opening your next email because someone could be watching. Technology once used only for marketers has made its way into the hands of general public. Now you can easily download software called Gmail Streak or an app called Mail Tracker that notifies you exactly when, for how long, and where others open the emails that you send them.
KEVIN: It become more expected nowadays that I could know whether if I send you’ve read it.
JACKI: College student Kevin Zhang uses email tracking, but feels that privacy is not a concern.
KEVIN: For me at least, there’s a feeling that some of the privacy issues are overblown, maybe because we’ve grown up kind of being used to sharing more about our lives.
JACKI: In a statement from Streak, the founders explain, “We are not providing any more information than other technologies already make available. The difference though is that today’s users can send trackable messages to people who don’t know they’re being tracked. Information about where you are can be dangerous.
RAJ: The concerns are with location, broadcasting, for children it could be kidnapping, for adults it could exposure of who they are sleeping with, or who they’re doing business with, or what they’re currently working on that they consider private. And depending on the country and the city you’re in, you could be at risk for kidnapping, murder, or extortion.
JACKI: There are defenses. Most email tracking services insert a small undetectable image into an email that when opened collects information about the receiver. In order to go undetected though, all you need to do is log in to your email account settings and click on the option to ask before displaying external images. Streak and mail tracker app already boasts more than tens of thousands of users and plan to expand to other countries. But be advised, it’s only a matter of time before email tracking becomes commonplace. Jacki Bryk, Columbia News Tonight.