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Pixel Tags, Pay Pal what is it? – 02262012

Pixel Tags being used in Pay Pal transactions and other security measures. I recently received a policy update notice from PayPal normal stuff from credit card companies and banks.  Changes being made to ensure your security, or more ways to protect their interests.  One of the updates is how they use Cookies and Pixel Tags. I will be honest I did not know what a Pixel Tag was (at least by name) until this update.  So just to bring everyone up to speed this was the amendment in PayPal’s privacy statement.

Effective Date: April 1, 2012

We have made amendments to the PayPal Privacy Policy to reflect the way PayPal collects, stores and processes your personal information. A few of the changes to the Privacy Policy are highlighted below, however, we recommend you review the updated Policy in its entirety. The amended Privacy Policy is effective April 1, 2012 for existing users and effective upon acceptance for new users.



How we collect information about you. We have amended this section to address how PayPal collects data from your computer, mobile phone or other access device. We may also collect information about your use and interaction with our website, application or the PayPal Services.

How we use cookies. We have amended this section to reflect our use of session and persistent cookies, Local Shared Objects (commonly referred to as “Flash Cookies”) and the use of pixel tags. The help section of most browsers or browser add-ons provides instruction on blocking, deleting or disabling cookies.

Marketing. We have amended this section to address opting-out of notifications via our application and SMS messages.



This is basic language we normally see, now beware as I have found at another bank site if you deactivate cookies you may limit your ability to use the site.  So I imagine this may hold true for PayPal too.  However, the real reason for this post is just to define what is a Pixel Tag!

Abc’s 20/20 did an article on Pixel tags entitled “Pixel Tags Don’s Threaten Your Online Privacy and Security” you can read in its entirety. They do point out how controversial they are.

So what is a Pixel Tag well if you are like many you may search the term on Google and find the first entry is in Wikipedia but it points to “Web bug“. Wikipedia discuss that a tracking pixel is a 1×1 gig and a clear gif (images) embedded in a web page or email invisible to the user. But, allow the sender to verify that the page or email was viewed.

Some might say Big Brother is watching and they may be right. At Geek.com going back to December 2000 the site identified that Pixel Tags could be dangerous. Check out Sam’s Opinion in the article “Pixel Tags are dangerous” and make your own opinion.

20/20’s opinion is that Pixel Tags are not a threat, and in researching you can limit these from opening by not allowing images to auto load in email, and I suppose you could try to do it in a browser too, but ultimately this may defeat your ability to surf the web.  20/20 closes there discussion on this bey pointing out that we are greatly benefited by tags and cookies, as it helps navigate the vast sea of information on the internet.

I do not have a strong opinion on this because it appears I have to accept this issue in order to accept ecommerce or participate in ecommerce. I just thought it was an interesting topic for people to learn about and how easy it is to put information on the web.  Also check out the video on 20/20’s page about some changes in FaceBooks security settings, it is old news but you may find it interesting.

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Pixel Tags an new (not so new) technical issue that the techies at www.end2endsupport.com thought you might be interested in.


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