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3 tips for managing your Gmail privacy

3 tips for managing your Gmail privacy

6 days ago | by: David Kodjani

As announced earlier this week, here are 3 ways for you to control the privacy of your Gmail account

  1. Block email trackers by taking control of external images

Image tracking is a very common tool used by businesses, marketers and newsletter publishers. There are a myriad of methods for tracking emails, but one of the simplest and therefore most common is the use of tracking pixels. 

These one-pixel images, usually invisible, are uploaded from an external server so that the sender knows that the email has been opened. This image is hosted on a different server from the sender of the mail, which causes the mail client to send a display request that will likely include things like your IP address and browser version, or even cookies set by that image server to track your behavior. 

To regain control, open your Gmail settings and look for the 'Images' setting: set it to 'ask before displaying external images' and you're good to go.

Now all incoming emails won't show any external images. If you want to see external images, you are given the option on a message-by-message basis, as well as the possibility to set all emails from that sender to always show them.

Read also - 4 Ways to Secure Your Gmail Account Against Hacking

2. Use Google's Privacy Check-up and change your privacy settings

Just as you can perform a security check using Google's own tools, you can also do this for privacy issues. 

The privacy check-up is a great way to get a quick overview of where you stand on privacy in Google services, including Gmail. This will allow you to define your settings for ad personalisation and access to third-party applications, for example. 

The 'Data and Privacy' option in your Google Account settings will give you an even more detailed look at data from apps and services, but the most granular privacy configuration comes, unsurprisingly, from the Gmail settings accessible from the app itself. Under the 'General' section, as well as the aforementioned external images option, you'll find two items that refer to 'smart features and personalisation' in Gmail and other Google products.

You should be aware that disabling this option will impact automatic email filtering, smart search, compose and reply features, nudges, and even the way Google extracts things like event details to create a calendar entry or restaurant reservations displayed on maps.

3. Consider using privacy mode

If you don't want to gut Gmail for an end-to-end encrypted email service focused on privacy, you can try Google's privacy mode for Gmail instead. It's available from the compose interface, via the three-dot menu. 

This offers a self-destruct option for Snapchat-like messages, revoke access to a button, and disable printing, forwarding or downloading of messages. 

You can also set a one-time password to allow the recipient to open the email in the first place. What you still don't get is end-to-end encryption. Gmail offers in-transit encryption using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or S/MIME for accounts enabled at both ends. However, while this offers some protection "in transit", your email is not encrypted at rest on the server.

Source: Forbes

Translated by Koboyo KANABIA