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Another threat to your privacy: the way you write

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The ‘creator’ of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, has been identified. That, at least, is the claim in a recent article by Alexander Muse on Medium. But don’t get too excited. The article not only fails to name him/her/them, Muse admits he doesn’t know, either. All he will say is that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has discovered the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, but that it won’t publicly confirm that fact. Not much of a story, you might think. But the real interest lies in how the DHS is alleged to have discovered Bitcoin’s biggest secret:

“Throughout the years Satoshi wrote thousands of posts and emails and most of which are publicly available. According to my source, the NSA was able to the use the ‘writer invariant’ method of stylometry to compare Satoshi’s ‘known’ writings with trillions of writing samples from people across the globe.”

The application of what is known as stylometry is only useful if you have other holdings of text linked to named individuals, which can be compared to a kind of stylistic fingerprint extracted from the texts under study. The problem is that Satoshi Nakamoto could be anyone, anywhere. That means stylometry is only likely to be helpful if you have a huge database of writings that includes everyone on the planet who is active on the Internet; people who are not online can probably be excluded since they are unlikely to have come up with something as inherently Net-based as Bitcoin. Although we are not generally aware of the fact, the NSA has just such a database, as the Medium article explains:

“The NSA then took bulk emails and texts collected from their mass surveillance efforts. First through PRISM (a court-approved front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts) and then through

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