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Commandline tool to anonymize PostgreSQL databases

Project description

A commandline tool to anonymize PostgreSQL databases for DSGVO/GDPR purposes.

It uses a YAML file to define which tables and fields should be anonymized and provides various methods of anonymization. The tool requires a direct PostgreSQL connection to perform the anonymization.

PyPI - Python Version license pypi Download count build pganonymize

1   Features

  • Intentionally compatible with Python 2.7 (for old, productive platforms)
  • Anonymize PostgreSQL tables on data level entry with various methods (s. table below)
  • Exclude data for anonymization depending on regular expressions
  • Truncate entire tables for unwanted data
Field Value Provider Output
first_name John choice (Bob|Larry|Lisa)
title Dr. clear  
street Irving St faker.street_name Miller Station
password dsf82hFxcM mask XXXXXXXXXX
email md5 0cba00ca3da1b283a57287bcceb17e35
phone_num 65923473 md5 as_number: True 3948293448
ip set
uuid_col 00010203-0405-…… uuid4 f7c1bd87-4d….
  • Note: faker.unique.[provider] only supported on Python 3.5+ (Faker library min. supported python version)
  • Note: uuid4 - only for (native uuid4) columns

See the documentation for a more detailed description of the provided anonymization methods.

2   Installation

The default installation method is to use pip:

$ pip install pganonymize

3   Usage

usage: pganonymize [-h] [-v] [-l] [--schema SCHEMA] [--dbname DBNAME]
               [--user USER] [--password PASSWORD] [--host HOST]
               [--port PORT] [--dry-run] [--dump-file DUMP_FILE]

Anonymize data of a PostgreSQL database

optional arguments:
-h, --help            show this help message and exit
-v, --verbose         Increase verbosity
-l, --list-providers  Show a list of all available providers
--schema SCHEMA       A YAML schema file that contains the anonymization
--dbname DBNAME       Name of the database
--user USER           Name of the database user
--password PASSWORD   Password for the database user
--host HOST           Database hostname
--port PORT           Port of the database
--dry-run             Don't commit changes made on the database
--dump-file DUMP_FILE
                        Create a database dump file with the given name
--init-sql INIT_SQL   SQL to run before starting anonymization

Despite the database connection values, you will have to define a YAML schema file, that includes all anonymization rules for that database. Take a look at the schema documentation or the YAML sample schema.

Example call:

$ pganonymize --schema=myschema.yml \
    --dbname=test_database \
    --user=username \
    --password=mysecret \ \

$ pganonymize --schema=myschema.yml \
    --dbname=test_database \
    --user=username \
    --password=mysecret \ \
    --init-sql "set search_path to non_public_search_path; set work_mem to '1GB';" \

3.1   Database dump

With the --dump-file argument it is possible to create a dump file after anonymizing the database. Please note, that the pg_dump command from the postgresql-client-common library is necessary to create the dump file for the database, e.g. under Linux:

sudo apt-get install postgresql-client-common

Example call:

$ pganonymize --schema=myschema.yml \
    --dbname=test_database \
    --user=username \
    --password=mysecret \ \
    --dump-file=/tmp/dump.gz \

4   Quickstart

Clone repo:

$ git clone
$ cd postgresql-anonymizer

For making changes and developing pganonymizer, you need to install poetry:

$ sudo pip install poetry

Now you can install all requirements and activate the virtualenv:

$ poetry install
$ poetry shell

5   Docker

If you want to run the anonymizer within a Docker container you first have to build the image:

$ docker build -t pganonymizer .

After that you can pass a schema file to the container, using Docker volumes, and call the anonymizer:

$ docker run \
    -v <path to your schema>:/schema.yml \
    -it pganonymizer \
    /usr/local/bin/pganonymize \
    --schema=/schema.yml \
    --dbname=<database> \
    --user=<user> \
    --password=<password> \
    --host=<host> \

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