Dangers of Google Email Tracking | Veterans Email Program

Google email tracking can pose significant risks to users’ privacy and security. While tracking can provide valuable insights for businesses and marketers, it can also lead to unintended consequences and potential harm to users. Here are two real-world examples of the dangers associated with Google email tracking:

Example 1: Email Tracking and Privacy Invasion

Email tracking can be used to monitor users’ behavior, such as when they open an email, what device they use, and their approximate location[1]. This information can be exploited by malicious actors or even used by companies to build detailed profiles of users without their consent. In one case, a Wall Street Journal report in 2018 raised concerns about third-party Gmail apps and Gmail privacy as a whole[2]. The report revealed that some app developers had access to users’ emails, which could be used to gather sensitive information and potentially invade users’ privacy.

Example 2: Email Tracking and Security Risks

Email tracking can also pose security risks to users. For instance, hidden tracking links can train users to click on unrecognizable links, making them more susceptible to phishing attacks and other online threats[3]. In another example, two of the three most popular email tracking extensions analyzed by MacKeeper Anti-Malware Lab were found to be receiving content from users’ email bodies, even when it was not necessary for the extension to function[4]. This unnecessary collection of user data could potentially lead to problems on par with malware cases.

How to Protect Yourself from Email Tracking

To protect yourself from the dangers of email tracking, consider the following steps:

  1. Use an email service that prioritizes privacy and security, such as the Veteran Email Program, ProtonMail or Tutanota, which offer end-to-end encryption and do not track users’ activities[5].
  2. Install browser extensions or tools that block email trackers, such as Disconnect, which offers a standalone Email Tracker category to protect users from invasive surveillance[6].
  3. Be cautious when clicking on links in emails, especially if they appear suspicious or unrecognizable. This can help prevent falling victim to phishing attacks or other security threats[3].
  4. Regularly review and manage the permissions granted to third-party apps connected to your email account, and revoke access to any apps that you no longer use or trust[2].
  5. Stay informed about email tracking practices and privacy concerns, and take proactive measures to protect your personal information and online activities[1][2].

In conclusion, while Google email tracking can provide valuable insights for businesses and marketers, it also poses significant risks to users’ privacy and security. By being aware of these dangers and taking proactive steps to protect yourself, you can minimize the potential harm caused by email tracking.


[1] https://medium.com/@trackbuster/the-hidden-danger-of-email-tracking-abac3e034ece

[2] https://cybernews.com/privacy/no-gmail-isnt-private-at-all-but-you-can-fix-that/

[3] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/01/stop-tracking-my-emails

[4] https://hackernoon.com/security-check-can-chrome-email-tracking-extensions-store-your-private-emails-d032d705f730

[5] https://proton.me/blog/is-gmail-secure

[6] https://blog.disconnect.me/email-tracker-privacy/

Veteran Email ProgramThe Veterans Email Program provides free, full-featured email addresses to active-duty and military veterans of the United States. Your Veteran Email Address represents the branch in which you served; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Space Force with a .Vet (Veteran) extension.