2023-01-25 10:00:17

Everyone Wants Your Email Address. Think Twice Before Sharing It.

Logo The New York Times
The New York Times
By Brian X Chen

Your email address has become a digital bread crumb for companies to link your activity across sites. Heres how you can limit this.

When you browse the web, an increasing number of sites and apps are asking for a piece of basic information that you probably hand over without hesitation: your email address.

It may seem harmless, but when you enter your email, youre sharing a lot more than just that. Im hoping this column, which includes some workarounds, persuades you to think twice before handing over your email address.

First, it helps to know why companies want email addresses. To advertisers, web publishers and app makers, your email is important not just for contacting you. It acts as a digital bread crumb for companies to link your activity across sites and apps to serve you relevant ads.

If this all sounds familiar, thats because it is.

For decades, the digital advertising industry relied on invisible trackers planted inside websites and apps to follow our activities and then serve us targeted ads. There have been sweeping changes to this system in the past few years, including Apples release of a software feature in 2021 allowing iPhone users to block apps from tracking them and Googles decision to prevent websites from using cookies, which follow peoples activities across sites, in its Chrome browser by 2024.

Continue read on nytimes.com

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