Here is the description we have added to
in response to the feedback from EFF at the Internet Privacy workshop: 

   $ Fingerprint:   A set of information elements that identifies a
      device or application instance.

   $ Fingerprinting:   The process of an observer or attacker uniquely
      identifying (with a sufficiently high probability) a device or
      application instance based on multiple information elements
      communicated to the observer or attacker.  See [EFF].
I wonder whether you find these definitions useful. 
Also, I am curious whether it makes sense to have a separate document purely on fingerprinting rather than incorporating the terms and potential recommendations in the privacy guidelines document. 
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 25. April 2013 um 09:58 Uhr
Von: "Nicholas Doty" <>
An: "Christine Runnegar" <>
Cc: "public-privacy (W3C mailing list)" <>
Betreff: Re: skeleton draft regarding fingerprinting guidance
Thanks all for your feedback; I'm gathering those resources and trying to work through your comments where I can.

As mentioned last month, I've moved the doc to a Github repo and formatted it in our spec style. The latest version includes distinct definitions for *passive* vs. *active* fingerprinting, with some references, as I think that distinction may prove to be very important.

Comments are, as always, welcome. Also, Github provides the functionality that you can also directly fork and submit pull requests of potential edits, if Git is something you're comfortable with. The repository and code itself is available here:


P.S. I may be behind in following up with potential collaborators, my apologies, I'm trying to get caught up. Ping me again, or, in general, let me know if you're interested and we're happy to let you loose on this document outline. :)

On Dec 4, 2012, at 11:02 PM, Christine Runnegar <> wrote:

> Thank you Nick!
> I think it would be useful to take this content and put it on a collaborative platform. Perhaps we could discuss the best place on the call tomorrow.
> Everyone,
> In the meantime, please feel free to start adding to Nick's draft via this list.
> Christine
> On Dec 5, 2012, at 2:21 AM, Nicholas Doty wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> Inspired by conversations at the TPAC breakout session on fingerprinting, I've started an outline/draft of a document for giving positive guidance to spec authors about what fingerprinting is exactly and how we might address it across specs.
>> As you can see, this is a mostly empty outline and obviously just a beginning, and I'm certainly not wedded to any of it. But I thought it might be a good basis for conversation, perhaps on this week's conference call, or just on the list. In particular, documenting the different threats or different levels of success sounded like it would be useful for spec authors who we hear are already thinking about this balancing act.
>> Thanks in advance for all your thoughts,
>> Nick
>> P.S. Written in Markdown, forgive me if you don't like this syntax. I'm happy to throw this on the wiki or on github if people would like to collaborate on it actively.