Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Email tracking services

In the latest press release about email tracking services, Art. 29 Working Party has expressed its strongest disapproval of the service, didtheyreadit.com, from Florida-based Rampell Software, LLC. So, the question is what is the main problem arising under this service? Firstly, the service offers no opportunity to accept or refuse the tracking.

It also provides additional details to senders: the date and time when the email was opened; where, geographically, the email was opened; for how long; and whether it was forwarded.

Subscribers who use Yahoo!, Hotmail or AOL email services can simply add ".didtheyreadit.com" to the end of a recipient's e-mail address to have an email tracked. Users of Outlook simply download a piece of software to add the secret tracking ability.
The recipient's unambiguous consent should be obtained before senders use this type of email tracking service.

While services are being offered (such as the one above) to users, there is still a need for greater awareness by companies to ensure that they do not infringe data protection laws. Otherwise, we may find that recipients to such services invoking the data protection laws to protect their privacy rights!

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