Thu. Jun 8th, 2023

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In this modern age, it’s growing harder and harder to prevent being tracked. Most often this is used to better target you for advertising. That alone, for many, is an invasion of privacy. Because of that, several software types have adopted Do Not Track (DNT). 

For example, in web browsers, this setting automatically requests that web applications disable tracking for users. Not all web browsers enable that setting by default, but users can always switch it on. 

Once enabled, the browser will send the request to websites, analytics companies, ad networks, plug-in providers, and any other service or application that attempts to track your activity.

That option isn’t just available to web browsers. Most modern email clients have the ability to render HTML content within emails. Because of this, third parties can track you when your email client renders that HTML email.

Also: How to encrypt email on Thunderbird (and why you should)

Again, an invasion of privacy.

Some email clients include a DNT feature. Such is the case with my favorite email client, Thunderbird. I want to show you how to enable DNT on Thunderbird so you can prevent those third-party organizations from tracking you via your email.

How to add “Do Not Track” to Thunderbird (and why you should)


The only thing you’ll need to make this work is a running instance of the Thunderbird email client. Thunderbird is supported on Linux, MacOS, and Windows, and it doesn’t matter which operating system you use, as the feature is the same across all platforms. I’ll be demonstrating on Thunderbird version 102.5.0, running on Pop!_OS Linux.

With that said, let’s get this feature enabled.

Open your Thunderbird email client and click the three horizontal line menu button in the top right corner of the main window.

The Thunderbird menu button in the upper right corner of the window.

Accessing the Thunderbird menu is but a click away.

Image: Jack Wallen

From the popup menu, click Settings.

The Thunderbird menu popup.

Make sure to click Settings and not Account Settings.

Image: Jack Wallen

The Privacy & Security section of Thunderbird's Settings window.

Enabling DNT in Thunderbird’s Settings window.

Image: Jack Wallen

Another handy tip

By default, Thunderbird is configured not to display remote content (HTML email). I would highly recommend you keep that setting and only allow Thunderbird to show remote content for emails from people or companies you can absolutely trust. 

Even then (especially with HTML email from business), unless you have DNT enabled, the likelihood of you being tracked is high. In other words, enable DNT or your privacy is at risk.

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