Keep a Check Before Sharing Your Email Address! Here’s Why
Remember, one little mistake might cost you a lot
Web surfing takes us to a number of places- some on the known side, some on the mysterious side of the earth. And the very first thing they ask you as you take a step is- to enter your email address.
You might think it’s just the mail id that you’re sharing but trust me, it’s more than that. A lot of things run in the background that apparently seem harmless but are actually rooted deeply. With just one simple mistake, you might end up revealing more than what you intended without the slightest realization of it.
So here's hoping that this article persuades you to not share your email address that easily if you want to protect your wallet and personal information.
The Why and How of it
Surely, the first and foremost question that’s arising in your mind is why companies at all need email addresses. Your email is significant to advertisers, site publishers, and app developers for reasons other than simply getting in touch with you. It serves as a digital breadcrumb for businesses to link your digital activity to show you relevant advertisements.
Consider a scenario where you are browsing a heels website using UID 2.0 when a prompt asks you to submit your email address and consent to get pertinent advertising. UID 2.0 immediately turns your email address into a token made up of a string of digits and characters as soon as you enter it.
When you use your email address to log into a UID 2.0-compatible sports streaming app on your TV, this token is also sent along with it. With the knowledge that you visited the heels website, advertisers can use the token to link the two accounts and target you with shoe advertising on the sports streaming app.
Consumers may regard UID 2.0 as an advantage over conventional cookie-based tracking because it gives advertisers the access to your whole browsing history and personal information without revealing your email address to them.
The marketing officer of Trade Desk Ian Colley said in an email- “Websites and apps are increasingly asking for email authentication, in part because there needs to be a better way for publishers to monetize their content that’s more privacy-conscious than cookies… after all, the internet isn’t free.”
For years now, the digital advertising sector has been using invisible trackers inserted into websites and applications to monitor our online behavior and then provide us with relevant ads. Over the past few years, there have been significant changes to this system, including Apple's release of a software feature in 2021 that allows iPhone users to block apps from tracking them and Google's decision to forbid websites from using cookies in its Chrome browser by 2024, which track users' activities across websites.
The chief executive of Modern Impact, Michael Priem said – “I can take your email address and find data you may not have even realized you’ve given to a brand… the amount of data that is out there on us as consumers is literally shocking.”
So, what’s the solution to this?
Use of email masking tools
For logging into an app or website, Apple and Mozilla provide tools that automatically establish email aliases; emails sent to the aliases are redirected to your real email address. The iCloud+ subscription service from Apple, which costs 99 cents per month, includes the “Hide My Email” function, which can generate aliases, but using it will make it more challenging to log in to the accounts from a non-Apple device. Mozilla's Firefox Relay will create five email aliases for you at no cost; all of them ranging between 99 cents per month.
Have a bunch of email addresses
You might create a special email address to log in to any website or app that requests your email address, such as, for example, email@example.com for movie-related apps and services. It would be challenging for ad tech businesses to create a profile of you based solely on your email address.
Also, if you receive spam mail addressed to a particular account, it will let you know which business is selling your data to marketers. This is an extreme strategy as it takes a lot of time and effort to handle so many email accounts and passwords.
Alongside these strategies, you could possibly take no action. You can accept that providing some personal information about yourself is a necessary part of the exchange for receiving content on the internet if you have no privacy concerns and enjoy receiving relevant advertising.
To wrap it up
In conclusion, even with close friends or family, exercise additional caution while disclosing personal information online and keep it to a minimum. Contact your bank right away if you think you may have shared your account information with someone you don't trust or if you've been the victim of fraud and need to report illegal activities.
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