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Review of Emails Reveals Massive Spy Pixels Problem

If there is one thing that virtually every single person that is currently using the internet is concerned about it is the kind of privacy that they can hope to receive while they are using the internet. Because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up being compromised by malicious actors as well as several other things, quite a bit of research is being done to ascertain whether or not there is any even remotely reasonable amount of privacy that people can expect to rely on when they are using the internet in the first place.

With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that the BBC asked popular messaging service “Hey!” and its founder to analyze the traffic it receives and the emails that end up being sent using this platform and this has ended up revealing some rather sinister things. For one thing, the analysis has revealed that a lot of the emails that people end up receiving from brands have “spy pixels” in them which are invisible code that can be used to track the recipients of these emails and obtain data from them without their knowledge.

The thing that makes this information truly concerning in a lot of ways is the fact that the trend remained really high even when spam emails were no longer taken into account. This means that large scale brands who have a massive presence and are ostensibly supposed to be regulated in their activities are also illicitly trying to track people with spy pixels, and they can end up using this data in whatever way they choose since most people are not going to know that they have it in the first place.

Now, some people are defending the use of these trackers by claiming that their use is a really common tactic that has been used by the marketing industry for quite some time now, also stating that the use of these pixels is referred to in privacy policies. However, many are criticizing this defense by saying that privacy violations are still a breach of trust even if they have been commonplace in the industry throughout its history.

Since spy pixels can end up giving out a lot of user data that can be rather sensitive such as the devices that users are making use of as well as their general location, the analysts at “hey!” have referred to this as a pretty gross violation of the trust that people are trying to place in these kinds of companies. A lot needs to change before people can start trusting these companies again.

Creator: MirageC / via Getty Images

Read next: More than half of the Surveyed American thinks that getting hacked is more dangerous than being killed, because data is more important than life

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