Data anonymization is a data protection process focused on privacy protection. The role of data anonymization is to encrypt or remove personally identifiable information from data sets. In this manner, people from whom the data was collection remain remain anonymous.
Data anonymization is often used in the medical field, as well as in data-sensitive statistics analysis. If you need to render the data you’re working on anonymous, you can use one of the tools listed below.
What are the best free data anonymization tools?
When talking about data protection when using a PC, the word Anonymity has become almost synonymous with the use of a VPN.
That being the case, there is no better way to start off such a list without the best VPN that is currently on the market: NordVPN.
NordVPN gives you peace of mind each time you use public Wi-Fi, access personal and work accounts on the road, or want to keep your browsing history to yourself.
Nothing gets saved, and it doesn’t matter who is monitoring your activity, be it government officials, hackers, or the ISP itself, your data will be completely secure.
This VPN is incredibly versatile since regardless of which subscription plan you choose, you will get complete protection across all of your devices, be it Windows, macOS, Android, or iOS.
In fact, one subscription will get you simultaneous protection for up to 6 different devices at a time.
Those of you that are fans of good old-fashioned browsing will also love the encrypted proxy extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
ARX Data Anonymization Tool
ARX removes direct identifiers such as names from datasets and adds further constraints on indirect identifiers, such as email addresses or phone numbers. The tools also provide built-in data import facilities for relational databases (MS SQL, DB2, SQLite, MySQL), MS Excel and CSV files.
Data can also come in the form of images. If you need a tool to blur images, we recommend Anonymizer. The software detects faces, car number plates and other image information in various scales and orientations and applies blurring filters to make the information unreadable.
The Anonymizer SDK is a standalone C/C++ library for Windows and Linux. You can use it to anonymize street-view photos, webcam photos, or any other photos for which privacy is a major concern.
NLM-Scrubber is a new, free clinical text de-identification tool. The software is currently in its initial beta stage, but you can already try it out if you’re curious.
The good news is that its developers will release a non-beta version of the tool. NLM-Scrubber is to be mainly used for de-identifying medical documents.
Here’s how to run NLM-Scrubber:
- Download NLM-Scrubber
- Create a configuration file using a text editor
- Open a command-line interface
- Change the current directory to where you downloaded or moved NLM-Scrubber
- Use the following command to run NLM-Scrubber: scrubber.exe.
Imperva Camouflage Data Marking Software
Imperva Camouflage’s data making tool removes the sensitive data hindering test, outsourcing, and analytics. The tool de-identifies sensitive data, and retains the realism and functionality of the original data set.
The data categories these tools can work with include names, addresses, credit cards, SSN/SIN, phone, and more.
For more information about this tool, check out the video below:
You can also try out this data masking tool for free or ask Imperva Camouflage for a quote by visiting the company’s official website.
We’ll end our list here. As you can see, the tools mentioned in this article can be used for the same purpose in various fields. They help you to de-identify sensitive data, whether it’s coded in images or letters.
Have you used other data anonymization software that we didn’t mention in this article?
If so, tell us more about your experience in the comment section below.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.