Open Tracking is evil and you should be ashamed! So says the BBC -- or rather, so says Hey.com, who was asked to explain it all to BBC News. Hey.com might have a bit of a bias, there, don't you think? Another point of view might be that ISPs take user engagement into account as a part of spam filtering, so smart and good senders also want to use user engagement data into account so they can stay in the good graces with ISPs. It's not evil; it's doing the right thing.
Could and should how open tracking works be reconsidered and modified to better address privacy concerns? Possibly. Email evolves and I'm sure our thinking on all of this will evolve over time as well. But today? C'mon, this whole thing reads like an advertisement for Hey.com's own paid email service. And aren't they collecting stats on what mail lands in user mailboxes to be able to sell their point of view?