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Your email program is being

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Your email program is being used to spy on you. Every time you open certain email messages, your email software reports back to the company who sent you the message.

CNET has an article that discusses Jupiter Media Metrix’s recommendations that companies start sending HTML mail to their customers more often. The reason that this recommendation is being made is so that companies can track how many times you open or forward a message.

"Because about 60 percent of consumers online have the ability to read HTML-based e-mail, he said, companies should be adding code to those e-mails that allows them to determine viral behavior.

"Daniels added that businesses should take advantage of analysis tools that provide companies with the opportunity to better learn their customers' behavior. "

The basic problem that I have with this is that the customers do not realize that their mail habits are being tracked. Most people don’t know that it is possible for a company to know when and how often you open their email messages. The average person reasonably expects that the email they are looking at is private and is not reporting their actions back to anyone.

If your email software allows you to, turning off support for HTML email will stop this violation of your privacy.

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