What are fingerprints?

Walter Hofmann Walter.Hofmann@physik.stud.uni-erlangen.de
Sun, 12 Dec 1999 18:54:10 +0100

On Sun, 12 Dec 1999, Peter Schuller wrote:

> I've always wondered: how on earth can they be unique? Yes, a hashing
> algorithm can make the hashes *almost* unique, but how can it be guaranteed
> that no two keys have the same finger print? It must be impossible, since
> there is no communication with a central server during key generation. Yet,
> invarious documents on PGP, it is always stated that they finger prints are
> indeed unique.
The odds that two fingerprints end up being equal are 1:1461501637330902918203684832716283019655932542976 against (for 160 bit fingerprints). This is zero for all practical purposes. Walter