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Thread: E-mail tracker firm

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    E-mail tracker firm

    E-mail tracker firm sparks fears over internet security
    By Simon English in New York (Filed: 24/05/2004)

    The days of pretending you just didn't get that e-mail you ignored could be over. Today, a company called offers customers the chance to track every e-mail they send.

    By signing up, you'll be able to see when an e-mail was opened, how long it was looked at, if it was read more than once, and if it was forwarded to anyone else.

    Inevitably, the service has already attracted the accusation that it is compromising the privacy of internet users. Rampell Software, the Massachusetts firm behind the website, admits there are "legitimate uses and stealth uses" for its product, but insists its intentions are good.

    It points out that many businessmen share important information via e-mail that they must be sure the recipients have seen. Anxious mothers trying to track down errant offspring can be reassured that their children are alive, even if they are not responding to messages. Job seekers will at least know if an employer read an application letter sent by e-mail, even if they didn't get the position.

    DidTheyReadIt is invisible to recipients, hence the concern from privacy experts. Next time you pass over an old friend, annoying relative or tedious business contact, be aware that they might know for sure you've ignored them.

    A company spokesman said: "We are not naive. Private investigation has been a profession for thousands of years and will be for thousands more."
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    damn no excuses for not doing that work the boss sent you .... does sound like an invasion of privacy to me .. very interesting.

  3. #3
    Macht Nicht Aus moxnix's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Huson Mt.
    I wouldn't mind seeing that incorperated into standard e-mail. We have a simplier version in our PM tracking here on 'AO'. I find it quite usefull, just to see if a PM I sent got there.
    \"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO - What a Ride!\"
    Author Unknown

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Hey Hey,

    While there are times when it would be nice, I don't think I want everyone knowing if I read their email or not... It's my business not theirs. Definately sounds like a violation of my privacy. Outlook, and possibly others, already let you request a read-receipt, which the person has to click on to send, but still it exists, that's more than enough for me. I would love to see the technology behind this tho, invisible to recipients, I'd love to know how they are doing this. Does it require HTML email messages? because that's and easy bypass, does it require you download images.. once again easily bypassed... or have they developped something more elaborate?


  5. #5
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    HT... exactly my thoughts...

    Wonder exactly how they do this?

    Similar to how spammers try to verify good addresses? With a web bug?

    If so, can't it be defeated by not accepting html email? Thats what I currently do...
    It just displays the code in which I immediately delete. I hate html email...
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  6. #6
    Looks to me like its HTML embedded, prolly with a transparent .gif.
    When the recipient gets the e-mail, it looks the same as any other e-mail that you send them. The instant they read the message, you will get an e-mail telling you that your message was read. It will contain the following information:

    When the message was read.
    Where (geographically---approximately) the message was read.
    When they have finished reading the message, you will receive a more detailed report, which will also indicate how long they read the message for.

    Each time the message is re-opened, even by a different person, you will be alerted. This means that if the recipient forwards your message, you will know. (You'll even know where the recipient is located, geographically).
    1. download pic, take IP
    2. whois IP to location

    DidTheyReadIt will determine if your message has been read (as well as how long and where) the vast majority of the time, upwards of 98% in extensive testing. Will it always work? No. Think of it like caller ID. Caller ID works most of the time and will show you who is calling you, but every now and then you get a "Private Call" or "Unavailable" number. We encourage you to sign up for a free account to test DidTheyReadIt. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase and we believe that you will find it an invaluable service that is effective.
    so 2% turn off html in their email client?

    If you ask me, there is no other way to track email than to bug it with html.

    Spammers are on top of it, too

  7. #7
    Does anyone want to try this out? It has a free trial, I believe.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Hey Hey,

    I signed up for their free (five messages a month) account and sent myself one. It is as Soda said a transperant gif.

    +OK POP server ready H mproxyus0
    +OK password required for user "XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX"
    +OK XXXXXXXXXXXX's mailbox has 1 messages (1134 octets) H mproxyus0
    +OK 1 1134
    1 1BS719-3fqF-0MKv6A-0007Yr
    +OK 1 messages (1134 octets)
    1 1134
    RETR 1
    +OK -1 octets
    Return-Path: <>
    Received: from[] (
    by with ESMTP (Nemesis),
    id 1BS719-3fqF-0MKv6A-0007Yr; Mon, 24 May 2004 00:24:51 -0400
    Received: from (localhost.localdomain [])
    by (8.12.8/8.12.8) with ESMTP id i4O4Oq9m017746;
    Mon, 24 May 2004 00:24:52 -0400
    Received: (from nobody@localhost)
    by (8.12.8/8.12.8/Submit) id i4O4Oq7u017744;
    Mon, 24 May 2004 00:24:52 -0400
    Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 00:24:52 -0400
    Message-Id: <>
    X-Authentication-Warning: nobody set sender to using -f
    To: ht@XXXXXX.INFO
    Subject: testing
    MIME-Version: 1.0
    Content-type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
    From: HT <tyler.reguly@XXXXXXX.CA>
    Cc: treguly@XXXXXXXX.CA
    X-SpamScore: 0.666
    tests= MIME_HTML_ONLY

    Hrm.. Let's see how this works...<br><img src="" width="1" height="1" />
    DELE 1
    +OK message deleted
    +OK POP3 server signing off

    You can send using their web-based front-end, or you can send using any email client, assuming they have your email address on record and you prefix the email address with (

    Anyways, because outlook 2003 (and I believe the new Express is going to do the same thing) blocks images by default... even if you have html email enabled, they'll never recieve a receipt.


  9. #9
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    These guys are brilliant!


    Knew it had to be some kind of web bug...

    Thanks for testing it out HT!

    /me puts on evil thinking cap...

    Figure out how they "name" these messages ids and create a script to just keep generating random IDs and pulling down the web bugs... thats sure to throw off their little "tracking mechinism"...
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    tst,tst,tst...TCP/IP syn/ack/...on open/on mouse over/on click/html/java script/embedded
    GOOGLE MAIL...any/ any any to home/save/log/sell/more spam/EULA/opt out/more spam/more spam/

    IPv6 and ISP responsibility= Good ??? maybe, but vote with your dollar,dinar,shekel,yen,
    whatever you can vote with, but above all, buy what you need, consume what you need.

    If you are going to be stupid, be stupid!!! Learn how to write and use the post office again.

    If Ghandi ever meant passive resistance, here's your chance.

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