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Digital fingerprint

Digital fingerprint

Digital fingerprint definition

A digital fingerprint is a unique digital identifier containing information about the user’s browser and the device they use to access a site in question. Companies use digital fingerprinting to identify and track internet users. However, digital fingerprints take customer tracking a step further because they allow organizations to track users without the need for cookie consent.

How digital fingerprints work

  • When a user visits a website, the fingerprinting software accesses the information about the user’s browser setup and the device in use.
  • The software uses tracking scripts (e.g., JavaScript) to collect this information from the browser and the device.
  • Instead of seeing one single identifier, the script can measure several browser characteristics when the user visits the website, such as the font and size, preference settings, or bookmarks.
  • This data is processed, hashed, and sent to the server.

Digital fingerprinting cons

  • Digital fingerprints are saved server side, so users can’t block them without going through several complex steps.
  • Digital fingerprints may contain enough information to identify a user, posing serious privacy issues.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security