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Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit # Civil Liberties in the Digital World

Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit

Sunday 10 July 2016

MAT is a toolbox to anonymize/remove metadata.

Proudly powered by Python, MAT was originally written during the “Google Summer of Code 2011”, under the umbrella of the Tor project.

What is metadata?

Metadata consists of information that characterizes data (e.g. Word documents, pictures, music files, etc). In essence, metadata answers who, what, when, where, why, and how about every facet of the data that is being characterized.

Why metadata can be a risk for your privacy?

Metadata within a file can tell a lot about you. Cameras record data about when and where a picture was taken and what camera was used. Office documents like pdf or Office automatically add author and company information to documents and spreadsheets. Maybe you don’t want to disclose this information on the web.

Why MAT is not the ultimate solution?

Mat only removes metadata from your files, it does not anonymise their content, nor handle watermarking, steganography, or any overly customized metadata field/system. Also please not that MAT does its best to scrub as much metadata as possible, it’s not really efficient at scrubbing embedded media inside complex formats. For examples, images embedded inside PDF may not be cleaned!

If you really want to be anonymous, use formats that do not contain any metadata, or better: use plain-text. And most important, be careful: every format can be watermarked, even plain text! (e.g. the SNOW project) You can also print out a copy of the documents, re-scan them, and pass it to the MAT; but be careful to securely shred your printout and not leave traces in your printer’s/scanner’s memory.

Download - MAT: Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit

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