2021/06/08 Stylometry

Stylometry


Preface

Before stylometry was weaponized by the ABCs it had a practical application of analyzing texts for authenticity, the identity of an another among other things. The basics were originally done by Wincenty Lutoslawski, a Polish philosopher who was known for using his method to build a chronology of Plato’s dialogues. Wincenty would not have dreamed of stylometry going as far as it has, especially with the development of computers and their near limitless potential when it comes to their capacities for analyzing large quantities of data.

Computers, with their excellent capacity for analysis, have changed the game when it comes to profiling an individual and gather what information on them that you can find. This means that at any given moment, everything you say or do online will most positively be catalogued in some black-box server in the backroom of your ISP or at a data-center in Utah where the government can shift and read over at their leisure. You are simply another bit of data put into a dossier and placed in yet another category the government has decided to use to classify you and many others.

This does not mean you should give up hope for any form of privacy, however you should be aware of what you may leak on your journeys through the internet. This section will help you remove an entire focal point that many people use to identify an individual. So, please, take your time and read through this carefully.

Why You Should Be Worried

Everything we say and do is of our own style, regardless of what it is and how we do it. Everyone has their own style and tells which can be passed onto anything and everything they do, not just prose and art. Coding can actually even give way to who did what and when, especially when debugging symbols are removed and the usual binary obfuscation techniques are used. Anonymity can not happen, even when all the usual steps are taken, if you do not work on knocking down your stylometry points and marks. Artistic feats, coding, writing and even speech can tell a lot about a person, especially the more seasoned they are in their chosen profession and/or hobby. Everyone generates their own style in life when it comes to things, so it should not be too surprising that the more experienced someone is that it is much easier to tell them apart from someone else. It is because of this that anything encountered in the wild can be used by anyone to learn who made it. We can learn the individual’s stylistic fingerprint from things like how they use a word or punctuation mark to something like brush strokes or use of shading. This can be used when there is a pool of candidates, and with some decent sleuthing, deduce who made whatever it is we are looking at.

There are also programs that exist to help this endeavor, and the government is not the only one with access to them. If you know where to look, and have some cash to spare, you can gain access to programs that can pinpoint an item’s creator to a frightening 90%+ accuracy. This is only solidified when more information is out there, on the internet, ready for anyone to access freely. Public availability and familiarity is the enemy of privacy and anonymity. We must learn to limit ourselves and control our impulses to further prevent the hemorrhaging of information. One way to do this is to expand our own working knowledge of any chosen subject or action we participate in.

The Basics

Disguising The Way You Type

Now the main thing here is to learn about your own writing style and its key attributes that identify you. This is usually done through comparing the frequency of words, punctuation marks, and identifiers, slang, sayings…etc. This is compared against a pool of data, AKA your posts and various actions online that is accredited to you and only you. So going by this information we then must assume that there are steps to be taken to sanitize our prose. The most useful form of sanitation is a simple grasp of the English language. This means knowing proper spelling and grammar, and avoiding region specific spelling, among other things like the over use of slang, memes, and shorthand, Chat speak…etc. The above combined with the below should hopefully help you and many others prevent stylometry.

Note: Be aware of regional and cultural differences. This includes but is not limited to spelling, slang, sayings and similar items. Try to make a conscious effort to recognize these tells with not only the things you do or say but also what others do or say. This can help you expand your privacy and security, yet also make you realize just how much we, ourselves, can bleed out onto the internet.

Combining What You Have Learned

Now the first thing we must do is conduct our own bit of stylometry on ourselves. This can be done through either the use of your favorite word processor or through Anonymouth. We will discuss the basics below on how you can do a dirty-version of stylometry. We recommend doing it both through a word processor and then Anonymouth just to cover your bases. Check this link before proceeding as it is required reading to understand the basics http://peterkirby.com/basic-stylometry-101.html

Now that you have a gist of how to identify, to an extent, your own identifiable markers it is time to check into Anonymouth. The reading material that comes with it should be enough to explain how to set it up and how to use it. Once you figured that out, use it in conjunction with the above basics. This will be a bit of an extra step but it will help you in the long run.

Now combine it all and produce your new posting style(s). That is it, basically. It will be time consuming and requires a bit of practice but it will go far once you realize how hard it is for someone, especially a Glow in the Dark to track you down through text. Remember, a stylometrist used by the government will have more tools and toys than us or most anyone. Working on obscuring our marks/tells and styles with the above will, to an extent, help use randomize our posts. Doing this each and every time, keeping nothing uniformed unless working with false leads and red herrings… you should retain your anonymity at least through text.

Afterword

It is recommended you take what you have read above and work on making up your own tactics and enhancers. Share them with whoever you can and work on polluting as much information as possible to foil any wannabe stylometrist’s attempt at de-masking people from anonymity. Privacy is not a one and done thing. It requires a lot of patience, time and research. So, take what you can glean from the above and try to find something that will work for you.