Tracking mechanisms in emails- invisible pixels or embedded hyperlinks that

detect when someone opens a message, and sometimes the location of the person opening it- are now commonly used.

Some estimates claim that up to 60% of all emails sent contain some sort of tracking device.

Trackers can be useful for businesses that send particular messages to particular customers. They offer an email marketing edge that almost every marketing email now contains.

But what if you don’t want to be tracked?

A recent report in the New York Times points out that tracking mechanisms are a privacy concern because we have no choice, when it comes to them.

“It’s definitely a privacy concern,” Cooper Quintin, a technologist and privacy advocate for the Electronic Frontier Foundation is quoted as saying. “There’s no mechanism for people to opt out.”

So, what to do? If you want to be private, right now there is no way to effectively block all trackers in your email.

A couple of tactics will stop much of the tracking though, so they are worth looking at.

Preventing images from loading automatically can stop a lot of tracking.

If you use Gmail, there is a setting that requires the messaging service to ask for your permission before displaying images in an email. Clicking “no” to the request will prevent images form loading, and prevent those invisible pixels from spying on you.

According to the report in the New York Times, an additional way to stop some tracking mechanisms is to disable HTML, the standard web language that trackers use to ping external servers, preventing the loading of other components like fonts that contain tracking code.

For privacy warriors, there is no true solution at the moment, but these tips can help. Or, maybe, don’t open that spam.