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Can webmaster intercept a private email (to another) if a link to his site is within?

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  • Can webmaster intercept a private email (to another) if a link to his site is within?

    I sent an email to a few friends. Contained therein was a copy/paste of part of a website, which is what I was showing them. Within 40 minutes, I got an email from the prez of the company who owned the website and said "You can't send that." How the hell did he intercept my very email sent to my friends? I mean, he sent me the exact email I had sent out. Is this common or does it require super-stealth software scripts to have that running all the time. When I copied/pasted, looking back, I see there was a live link to his site (it was just text). Is that live link the key?

    I was thinking this is something new-fangled "Big Brother" type situation but I have slight recall that my own webmaster "saw" an email I sent about our site, and this was a few years ago. What gives? How can people get hold of private emails? Is that legal?
    :::

    Bill

  • #2
    How did you email it? Unless he has control of your connection to the web, or access to your email account, I don't see any way he should be able to see your emails. Maybe one of your friends mentioned it to him?
    Silk City Music Factory: A Connecticut Recording Studio

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    • #3
      It was sent through Gmail. I would be FLABBERGASTED if any of these recipients emailed this to him. I would think they have no clue how to get in touch with him. (I didn't even know.)
      :::

      Bill

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      • #4
        The most likely situation is that you accidentally sent the email to the guy: there is no mechanism fo screening the body of an email for certain domain names and contacting related parties.

        Do you work for this company? If so, and you sent it via your company email, it's possible that it passed through an exchange server, even if you are using gmail (that is, the gmail account could be linked to another account that you're "really" sending through), but that doesn't seem very likely, either.

        More details are necessary here
        My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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        • #5
          I did not know the man at all. I just became affiliated with his company but I did not have an email address for anyone there. I had received emails from their corporate office but I had never emailed them. And I checked the email to see who it was sent to and it was all people I know, like, eight people.
          :::

          Bill

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          • #6
            I see there was a live link to his site (it was just text). Is that live link the key?


            Perhaps when one of your recipients clicked on the link, it recorded his IP address and what was clicked on. Is the web site public? Is the portion that you copied public? Perhaps you sent something you shouldn't have sent.

            Assuming this was something that's doesn't have to do with internal company business, you might respond to the e-mail you received from the president with something like "Sorry, I meant no harm, but out of curiosity, how did you get the copy of the e-mail that I sent?"
            --
            "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
            Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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            • #7
              Yeah that would freak me out. I would first of all contact all the friends and ask them. I'd say I did not care if they did E mail the guy, I just need to know.

              If they all say they did not, I would E mail the guy and apologize and agree to not do whatever he was pissed about and then ask him how he was aware of it. Obviously he is not going to reply to that if it is underhanded. But yeah, more info is needed. Maybe one of the friends heard about it and sent it. Maybe there is a virus on your E mail......could it have sent the E mail to more people than you intended......seems unlikely.

              If that guy (and other people) have a way(s) of spying on anyone who accesses their website and seeing if you ever copy and paste their content, it should be brought to somebodies attention because it amounts to spying.

              Maybe Craig can weigh in on this? Another thing I would like to know which is somewhat related.......can forum admin specifically admin....... "see" members passwords and can they access members PM's to each other? In other words if people were conspiring against another member or talking smack about a mod........ can the admin folk see that?

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              • #8
                When I ran a BBS in the mid 1980s, I could see everything, but that system was completely self-contained. There are lots of web tools that track web site visits (he had to have visited the web site to copy information from it) and I suppose that if you had the resources, you could locate someone's e-mail address from the IP address from which the site was accessed. Don't they do that all the time on TV?
                --
                "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                • #9
                  On "War Games" and "The Net" and "24" it sure seemed like they could do everything.
                  Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                  • #10
                    When you copied and pasted some of the website contents into your email, unless you went to some lengths to avoid it, you essentially copied the code for the page -- complete with code references to the URLs of the original image files on the company's servers. IOW, your email contained not the images themselves but code references to them.

                    So when your email reader 'assembles' the email for viewing, the embedded images it is displaying are from the company's server, not actually included with the email.

                    Because of THAT, everytime someone views the email in a viewer, the company's servers receive a request to return the requested resource (the image file).

                    So the company, in essence, is notified every time someone views the image files. And they can quickly sort out requests that are not attached to pages on their own site.

                    (This is generally known as "image poaching" -- and it is a very common and very unwelcome 'illicit' activity, since it 'steals' from your server bandwidth in order to display your image on someone else's site, in someone else's context and for their purposes -- which might be totally antithetical to your own. [Obviously, inclusion in an email is somewhat different, in that exposure might be limited to one or two people... that said, it could also be in an email blast to thousands. And, of course, it may not be immediately apparent just where those images are being viewed, since many folks use web mail, now.)

                    That's why email clients typically default to 'Images blocked to protect your privacy' or something along those lines -- because companies have often used image requests in order to see who is reading what emails and when. (And, of course, spammers can use those image requests to confirm that live eyeballs are on the receiving end at your address.)


                    If you wanted to do something like this (legalities aside, and that's a lot of brushing aside), it can be done but not without a fair degree of complexity and jiving around.

                    A better way to communicate the visuals of a given website is to take a screen shot of it and email that as an attachment or embedded image.

                    The best -- bar none, it's brilliant -- screen capture tool I've found is Fireshot, which is available for both Firefox as well as Chrome. Not only does it allow easy captures, but it has a number of editing/screen annotation tools that allow you to circle, box, highlight, draw arrows, add text balloons, etc.
                    .

                    music and social links | recent listening

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                    • #11
                      ... or in OSX, cmd-shift 3 will cap the whole screen, cmd-shift-4 lets you cap a selection. [edit]And yes, I agree FS is the best cap tool I have found in general[/edit]

                      However, even if the images were served and they were tracked (not a lot of people do that on a really granular level), the only http request would only give the requesting email address, not the address of the originating email. At least as far as I know.

                      When you're being tracked as far as images in email (which is a real problem), usually it is requesting an image that is specific to the email that was sent to you, which would be a hash of whatever info that the person setting it up would like to keep...

                      all this is just speculation (I've never set anything like that up), but I'm very skeptical that an img src link in an email would reveal the sender's address.
                      My Business: Media Production in the Texas Hill Country

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                      • #12
                        I certainly wouldn't apologize under any circumstances. If the guy is a businessman he's an idiot, assuming your email brought his site to the attention of your friends. Well, he's an idiot anyway if he's going to speak to a potential client that way. Of course I don't know the details or context of what you were sharing. And yes you have a legitimate privacy grievance with this person tracking private email in any fashion, which is much more serious in the eyes of the law than copying and pasting some content from a website and sharing it privately with a small group of friends.

                        Now if you were to republish his content on a publicly accessible website of your own that
                        <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

                        “Music is well said to be the speech of angels... nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine."

                        ~Thomas Carlyle

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                        • #13
                          LiveMusic didn't say what the content was, but he did say he was affiliated with the company. It could have been music (someone else's), it could have been graphics, it could have been text from a non-public web site meant for company communication. He may have done something relatively harmless and innocent, or he may have given away a company secret.

                          I've often e-mailed someone a link to a file in a web site. I figure I'm doing the owner the courtesy of giving him a web site visit and maybe my recipient will will look around further. Basically, I'm honoring his copyright, like telling someone about a book rather than copying the book and giving someone a copy.
                          --
                          "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                          Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                          • #14


                            However, even if the images were served and they were tracked (not a lot of people do that on a really granular level), the only http request would only give the requesting email address, not the address of the originating email. At least as far as I know.

                            When you're being tracked as far as images in email (which is a real problem), usually it is requesting an image that is specific to the email that was sent to you, which would be a hash of whatever info that the person setting it up would like to keep...

                            all this is just speculation (I've never set anything like that up), but I'm very skeptical that an img src link in an email would reveal the sender's address.
                            Oh, yeah. The track back information that could be used for finding info on the sender is in the header of the email -- but that can be forged.

                            When the receiver's email client requests any resources (like image files) requested by the content of the email, the resource request (obviously) has to have the IP address that the resource is being served to -- and that reveals the RECEIVER's location -- not the sender's. If the email client is set to ignore image resource requests, then there's no chance of getting the receiver's current IP address -- because there's no resource request to require it.

                            URL-tracking by resource in emails has been common enough that many email clients default to 'images blocked to avoid revealing your location' (or whatever the wording happens to be in a given case).
                            .

                            music and social links | recent listening

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                            • #15
                              Maybe Craig can weigh in on this? Another thing I would like to know which is somewhat related.......can forum admin specifically admin....... "see" members passwords and can they access members PM's to each other? In other words if people were conspiring against another member or talking smack about a mod........ can the admin folk see that?


                              We can't see members' passwords. We can change members' passwords. The field appears blank to us until we type one in. We can see and change members' email addresses.

                              We can't see PMs unless someone reports a PM. So if you send a PM to someone and they press REPORT, pretty much all of us see what you wrote them verbatim.

                              And we really don't care if you "talk smack" about us.

                              Threats would be an exception, of course.

                              Terry D.
                              Telling Stories releases 2nd CD, see our WEBSITE! Please check out my GROUPIE STORY and Tales from the Road.

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