A clickprint refers to regular patterns that emerge from a user’s activities on the Web that can be used to identify that user. A clickprint may be made up of a variety of data including the number of pages per visit to a website, the order in which different areas are accessed and the time spent on each page. In theory, monitoring and analyzing browsing data allows a company to assign specific identities to anonymous users or, if all browsing data were available, the company could track and predict a user’s Web activity.
Clickprints are simply the overall patterns people fall into when surfing the Web. Such patterns are not uncommon, and they exist in the way people walk, talk, write and so on. The more you do an activity, the more likely you are to do so in some kind of repeating pattern.
The implications of the ability for online companies to recognize and track clickprints are not exactly clear. One obvious application would be the ability to customize content and advertising to fit the demographic data that the clickprint suggests. Whether clickprinting is being widely used is not known, most likely because of the privacy concerns this type of tracking would create.