Risks of press releases!

If you read the article, you'll see it's actually a thinly rewritten press
release for a commercial service that purports to block web bugs, the
standard name for what he calls "spy pixels."

They are annoying and creepy, but they are very much not news. Here's a
description of them the EFF published over 20 years ago:


They're also not hard to avoid. Mail programs like Thunderbird only load
images from senders who you've marked as friendly. I still use Alpine to
read my mail. Since it runs in a terminal window, it doesn't render images
at all, just shows you where they are in the message and what they point to.

The least malicious excuse for them I've seen for web bugs is that smart
marketers use them to see who is reading their mail, and stop sending mail
to people who consistently don't open the message. I'm not sure how
persuasive that is, but it does have some plausible benefit.

Oh, and the strangest thing is that in most cases they're completely
pointless. Any image in any HTML mail message can be used to track who is
opening the mail. (I did some experiments a while back.) Why point an arrow
at yourself by using an obvious transparent 1x1 image?

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