Ugly Mail extension spots email tracking tricks


So who was actually tracking him?

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Does Adblock blacklist these?
I think even Firefox and Chrome used to have option to block all images or just off-site images, I don’t see it anymore.

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So, um, your email client just automatically downloads everything linked in a message?

Silly email client.


Adblock works on web, not email. I don’t know if there are extensions for Outlook, or whatever you use.

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sorry, I meant webmail.
(edit)what % of people use a mail client anymore except on a mobile phone?
Per TFA this is a chrome plugin so also not for a real mail client.


err umm… it wants to read an change your data on Seems kind of risky.

Email client (Thunderbird) user here. (Not that that speaks to global percentages.)


I have no idea how many people just use webmail these days, but I’m not one of them; I only use my Gmail account for Google-specific things such as music purchases through the Play Store.

Any email client worth its salt has the option (typically default) of blocking remote images in email, which stops web bugs in their tracks.


Does this do anything besides spotting the trackers? If it can spot them, isn’t there a way to delete/disable them?

Also, how did a tracker end up in a Gmail-to-Gmail between me and a friend? There was a link in the first message of the thread - was that it?

I don’t consider myself especially dense, having been online since the dialup days of elm and pine.

Any insights from the mutant community?

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Anybody know how Gmail deals with pixel tracking when you don’t show images for an email?
I’m guessing there are advertiser-friendly exceptions to what Google considers “images”.

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Gmail used to block all images by default. You could click to view images on individual emails, and you could say that you trusted certain contacts, so that you would always see their images.

They switched about a year ago, with a message that something-or-other in their system was now good enough that there was very little risk that anyone could track you by images, so there was no longer a need to block images by default.

You can still set gmail to block all images by default in the settings.

Here is Gmail’s statement on images:

Some senders try to use externally linked images in harmful ways, but Gmail takes action to ensure that images are loaded safely. Gmail serves all images through Google’s image proxy servers and transcodes them before delivery to protect you in the following ways:

  • Senders can’t use image loading to get information like your IP address or location.
  • Senders can’t set or read cookies in your browser.
  • Gmail checks your images for known viruses or malware.

In some cases, senders may be able to know whether an individual has opened a message with unique image links. As always, Gmail scans every message for suspicious content and if Gmail considers a sender or message potentially suspicious, images won’t be displayed and you’ll be asked whether you want to see the images.

I’m interested to know how this gets through Google’s caching and transcoding of images before sending them to you.


SeaMonkey’s e-mail that uses Thunderbird engine. Also, Mutt in Linux.

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