Frequently asked Questions

On this page, we will try to answer a few common questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to get in touch.

For Users

What is PrivacyMail?

Privacymail is an automated scanning system that helps you determine if the companies that are sending you newsletters are using tracking technologies to find out which mails you are reading, and which links you are clicking. It is intended to help you inform yourself, and establish transparency in this often murky area of online privacy. It is also a research tool, operated by the Secure Mobile Networking Lab at TU Darmstadt, Germany.

Is this service free? How do you make money?

PrivacyMail is a non-commercial open source project, paid for as a research tool by the Secure Mobile Networking Lab (SEEMOO) at TU Darmstadt. Ongoing development is performed by members of the SEEMOO team, students (as part of coursework, theses, or student jobs), and volunteers. We will never charge for use of the service or show advertisements. However, we may use the data generated by the platform in our research (see next question for details).

What will you do with the collected data?

First off: We do not collect data about you. All collected data is related to the newsletters that you and others register with this service, and no data about our users is collected or shared in any way.

That being said: We perform analyses on the mails we receive to display the results on this website, and may combine it with data from other projects to create a more detailed view of the online tracking ecosystem. Data may be shared with other researchers on a case-by-case basis, or released as part of larger datasets to facilitate reproducible research. If you are a researcher and want to work with our data, feel free to get in touch.

What is your relationship to the PrivacyScore project?

Some members of the PrivacyMail team also contribute to the PrivacyScore platform, and vice versa. Some of the technology and infrastructure is shared between the projects. Other than this, they are independent projects.

For service operators

Why are you scanning my newsletters?

We are scanning your newsletter because one of our users registered it with our service.

Can you remove me from your system?

If you do not want your newsletter to be scanned by our system, please get in touch and we will remove existing subscriptions and ensure that no new subscriptions can be created. Please note that we will not delete existing data, and that your decision to opt out of our analyses will be made public. As the goal of this platform is to establish transparency, users trying to inspect your service will be shown a message that you requested to be excluded from future analyses, together with any existing result data we may have on your service. We may also show your service in a list of services that have asked to be excluded.