Privacy Watchdogs: sites must ask permission for ‘device fingerprinting’




Websites have to ask permission to European privacy watchdogs’ device fingerprinting, as now required with cookies. According to the group to which it belongs Dutch DPA falls ‘device fingerprinting’ under the regulations for cookies.

The conclusion of the Article 29 Working Party of European privacy watchdogs state in a report that has published the Working Group. It is only an opinion; the watchdogs for example, impose fines on that basis.

The Article 29 Working Party comes to that conclusion, because taking the digital fingerprint has the same goal as placing tracking cookies, namely, tracking users on the Internet to build up a profile and display ads based on that profile. With ‘digital fingerprinting sites take as many properties of a device, such as make, model, screen resolution, installed fonts, and so on, to identify users that way. That works estimated to 91 percent of the devices on websites. Now ask permission for sites there because they do not place cookies. Some sites can use a canvas drawing that takes the fingerprint, a method that is also subject to the opinion of the working group.

Because device fingerprinting does not work with cookies, it is difficult to stop tracking, because throwing away the cookies is not enough.


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