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Program Will Remove Writer’s Individual Style From Their Content

Researchers have developed a program that removes authors' literary style, allowing more secure publication of sensitive material.

Kristen Nozell
Kristen Nozell on August 8, 2013. @kristen_n

A team of researchers at Drexel University’s Privacy, Security and Automation Lab has developed software to render content truly anonymous. Called Anonymouth, the software detects and changes writers’ “stylistic markers” such as common words, punctuation and sentence structure.

As cited in the university’s research magazine, Michael Brennan, a PhD candidate and leading partner of the project, claims that “Anonymouth enables people to maintain their anonymity for sensitive13 writing.” The program was recently released at the Chaos Communication Congress in tandem with JStylo, a tool that acts conversely, identifying authors of anonymous texts based on their stylistic markers. Given a 6,500 word sample for comparison, the app can identify an author with 80-85% accuracy.

New Republic recently published several passages from famous literature that had been rendered anonymous through Anonymouth; an example from the King James’ Bible is below.

Unedited:

1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Anonymous:

1:1 To start, God created Heaven and earth.

1:2 Earth wasn’t yet formed, and darkness hung over it. God’s spirit moved over the surface’s waters.

Drexel University PSAL

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