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Beware of web beacons that can secretly monitor your email

Legal By the Bay – Joanna L. Storey: “A twist in the recent prosecution of a Navy Seal charged with killing a prisoner in Iraq in 2017 brought to the forefront an ethics issue that has been squarely addressed by several jurisdictions, but not yet in California: the unethical surreptitious tracking of emails sent to opposing counsel using software embedded in a logo or other image. Also known as a web beacon, the tracking software is an invisible image no larger than a pixel that is placed in an email and, once activated, monitors such actions as when the email was opened, for how long, how many times, where, and whether the email was forwarded. The sender’s goal may be to determine how seriously you are considering a settlement demand that he attached to an email – the more you view the email, the more you may be inclined to accept the demand. Or, the sender may want to know to where you forward the email (e.g., you may forward the email to a client whose location is unknown to opposing counsel)….”

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