Digital Fingerprinting

What Does Digital Fingerprinting Mean?

Digital fingerprinting is the identification of large data files or structures using truncated information. A fingerprinting algorithm is one that reduces a larger data set to a very small data set, sometimes called a bit string, to promote efficient identification and search protocols.


Techopedia Explains Digital Fingerprinting

One type of common fingerprint algorithm is called a hash function. These functions change a larger data set, sometimes known as a key, into a shorter data set, which may be called a hash. These altered pieces of data help make search techniques more agile.

One type of digital fingerprinting application is related to new digital media files. Experts note that digital fingerprinting helps a user locate a specific file to verify whether a file has been altered, while actually facilitating copyright protection. This involves using a fingerprint identifier to conduct protected file searches for other online file instances. Digital fingerprinting plays other roles for average end users, such as verifying whether particular file instances have been altered.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.