Is it possible for a friend to track when I open an email?

by on January 3, 2013

Q: I think my ex is tracking the emails that he sends to me. I know he used to brag about the fact that he tracks emails to see if they were opened by his friends and family. I know there are a few email tracking programs a lay person can use. Here is my question, If I move his emails that I receive to a different email account that I have, for example, he sends to my gmail account, and if I send his tracked emails to my hotmail account will he still know if I have opened it?


One Response to “Is it possible for a friend to track when I open an email?”
  1.  

    There are a few ways that someone can track if you opened an email. The easiest is to request a read receipt, which you can do in most email clients. What this does is when you open the email you are then prompted to send a confirmation that you opened the email. This is just an email that gets sent back to the user saying it was opened. This usually wont work with web based email programs though.

    The other way to track email, which is how corporations do it, is to add a tracking pixel. What this means is that an image is put in the email that is loaded from a website. When you open the email, assuming you have it set to show you images, the image is shown and the pixel is fired off and the person then knows, depending on how they set it up on their end, that you read the email.

    Again most web based email programs ask you if you want to see images before they actually show them. So if you find yourself telling gmail or hotmail to show images embedded in the email then the tracking, if it were done this way, would be successful. I am not sure if there is a way to always show images on web based email services like gmail or hotmail but I suspect there is. So if you enabled that then the tracking would work too.

    It should be noted that anyone putting in a tracking pixel or requesting a read receipt would not know what email account you used to open the email. They would just know that you opened it.