My solution to this: never ever load images in emails. Thunderbird will also let you load individual images if you need to IIRC.
How do you avoid link tracking? There doesn’t seem to be a universally good way to do this.
I just try to never click on a link in an email.
As it turns out, in many cases, the final-destination url will be the link text, so I can pretty straightforwardly cut-and-paste that into my browser, bypassing the tracking link. In other cases, the link is redundant (e.g. if I log into LinkedIn, there will be plenty of nav to get me to my invites, without having to click the direct email link).
In extreme cases, I’ll copy the link url, tracking and all, and paste it into a FF “private browsing” window. They will (probably) register the click, but I shouldn’t get tracked further.
That works! Though, it’s a bit annoying to have to do all that manual work just to avoid tracking. I’m sure it’s pretty obvious in most cases which parameters need to be scrapped, and at that point, it can probably be automated, except for the really hidden ones, which you can avoid, like you said.
I wonder how hard it would be to create an IMAP/sieve filter to strip out the tracking pixels.
Another company that uses tracking pixels: Github, for their notifications. Opening the email means you don’t see a badge in the website.
Or a filter for us Mutt users, that should be next to triviaal.
For mutt, wouldn’t you just not load any image ever? Perhaps a script to strip them out before launching w3m or whatnot to put into mailcap is what you’re thinking about?
Honest question: why do we care about email engagement tracking? I am always on board with minimizing privacy invasions, but it feels misguided here. If a provider I care about sends me an email and something in it is interesting, I click on the link in the message and let them register my click as having originated from their campaign. They already have my email address and they control the destination site, so what do I care? The 1x1 tracking pixels are just a way for them to know their message has been seen, which also seems reasonable. If you don’t care about the message, don’t open it.
All of this tracking is completely illegal in Germany and, I suspect, in the EU.