Textbook Key

F: Foundations of Information Privacy and Data Protection

US: U.S. Private-sector Privacy

C: Canadian Privacy

E: European Privacy

G: U.S. Government Privacy

IT: Privacy in Information Technology

M: Privacy Program Management

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Digital Fingerprinting

The use of log files to identify a website visitor. It is often used for security and system maintenance purposes. Log files generally include: the IP address of the visitor; a time stamp; the URL of the requested page or file; a referrer URL, and the visitor’s web browser, operating system and font preferences. In some cases, combining this information can be used to “fingerprint” a device. This more detailed information varies enough among computing devices that two devices are unlikely to be the same. It is used as a security technique by financial institutions and others initiating additional security assurances before allowing users to log on from a new device. Some privacy enforcement agencies; however, have questioned what would constitute sufficient notice and consent for digital fingerprinting techniques to be used for targeted advertising.

Reference(s) in IAPP Certification Textbooks: US138