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Stylometric fingerprinting resistance

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Following the recent SCOTUS ruling, many have been trying to publish resources to help people find reproductive healthcare. They often wish to do this anonymously, to avoid doxxing.

There’s no shortage of guides on how to stay anonymous online. I recommend using the Tor Browser in a disposable Whonix VM. The Whonix Wiki has a good guide to anonymous publishing.

Few guides cover stylometric fingerprinting. Stylometric fingerprinting is one of the most common techniques for de-anonymization, used by adversaries ranging from trolls to law enforcement.

Common advice is to use offline machine translation to translate works to and from another language. Argos Translate and Marian are two options that come to mind.

shows that machine translation alone isn’t nearly as strong a method as manual approaches: obfuscation (hiding your writing style) or imitation (mimicking another author). These approaches have excellent success rates, even among amateur writers. The aforementioned Whonix wiki page lists common stylometric fingerprinting vectors for manual approaches to address.

Limiting unusual vocabulary and sentence structure make for a good start. Using a comprehensive and highly-opinionated style-guide should also help. The Economist has a good one that was specifically written to make all authors sound the same: , 12th edition (application/pdf).

For any inexperienced writers: opinionated offline grammar checkers such as LanguageTool and RedPen may supplement a manual approach by normalizing any distinguishing “errors” in your language, but nothing beats a human editor.

Further reading: , by OrphAnalytics SA.


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This is an expanded version of a microblog entry: Stylometric fingerprinting resistance. It contains everything in that entry and more. I am open to feedback, especially from anybody with a more thorough background in the subject; here’s my contact information. Introduction Permalink to section Following a recent landmark SCOTUS ruling, many have been trying to publish resources to help people find reproductive healthcare. They often wish to …

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