pg_diffix 0.0.4

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pg_diffix 0.0.4
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pg_diffix 1.2.0 —
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A PostgreSQL extension for strong dynamic anonymization.
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pg_diffix 0.0.4
A PostgreSQL extension for strong dynamic anonymization.


Important notice
Important notice


Important notice

This is a pre-release version of the extension and is not intended for general use yet. It may be unstable and documentation is limited. If you have any questions, please contact us at

PG Diffix

pg_diffix is a PostgreSQL extension for strong dynamic anonymization. It enables you to query your PostgreSQL database (nearly) as you’re used to, but makes sure you receive fully anonymous output. For details, visit the Open Diffix website.

Check out the tutorial for an example on how to use pg_diffix. For detailed information on configuring and using the extension, check out the user guide.


PostgreSQL version 13 or higher is required.

The source is compiled with: make or make TARGET=release for release version.

You should already have the postgresql-server-dev-x package installed if you have postgres version x. If not, you must install it in order to compile the source.

The compiled extension is installed with: make install.

You probably need to run it with superuser permission as sudo make install.

In psql, you have to install the extension with CREATE EXTENSION pg_diffix;.

Using the extension

Load the extension with LOAD 'pg_diffix';, unless you configured it to preload using these instructions.

Once installed, the extension logs information to /var/log/postgresql/postgresql-13-main.log or equivalent.

Node dumps can be formatted to readable form by using pg_node_formatter.

Preloading the extension

To enable automatic activation on every session start, you need to configure library preloading.

In your postgresql.conf file, add pg_diffix to either of session_preload_libraries or shared_preload_libraries.

session_preload_libraries = 'pg_diffix'

If you have multiple libraries you want to preload, separate them with commas.

Testing the extension

make installcheck

Once you have a running server with the extension installed, execute make installcheck to run the tests. You must ensure you have all the required permissions for this to succeed, for example:

  1. In your pg_hba.conf your PostgreSQL superuser to have trust authentication METHOD. If modified, run systemctl restart postgresql.service to apply changes.
  2. Invoke using PGUSER=<postgres-superuser> make installcheck

or if available, just make your usual PostgreSQL user a SUPERUSER.

PGXN Test Tools

Or you can use the PGXN Extension Build and Test Tools Docker image: docker run -it --rm --mount "type=bind,src=$(pwd),dst=/repo" pgxn/pgxn-tools sh -c 'cd /repo && apt update && apt install -y jq && pg-start 13 && pg-build-test'.

Docker images

We provide 2 Docker images preconfigured with the extension.

Base image

The base image is a standard postgres image with pg_diffix installed and preloaded. It does not include any additional database or user out of the box.

The example below shows how to build the image and run a minimally configured container.

Build the image:

make image

Run the container in foreground and expose in port 10432:

docker run --rm --name pg_diffix -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=postgres -p 10432:5432 pg_diffix

From another shell you can connect to the container via psql:

psql -h localhost -p 10432 -d postgres -U postgres

For more advanced usage see the official image reference.

Demo image

The demo image extends the base image with a sample dataset and a user for each access level.

Once started, the container creates and populates the banking database. Three users are created, all of them with password demo: - trusted_user with anonymized access to banking in trusted mode - untrusted_user with anonymized access to banking in untrusted mode - direct_user with direct (non-anonymized) access to banking

NOTE The required file docker/demo/01-banking-data.sql is managed by Git LFS.

Build the image:

make demo-image

Run the container in foreground and expose in port 10432:

docker run --rm --name pg_diffix_demo -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=postgres -e BANKING_PASSWORD=demo -p 10432:5432 pg_diffix_demo

Connect to the banking database (from another shell) for anonymized access:

psql -h localhost -p 10432 -d banking -U trusted_user

To keep the container running you can start it in detached mode and with a restart policy:

docker run -d --name pg_diffix_demo --restart unless-stopped -e POSTGRES_PASSWORD=postgres -e BANKING_PASSWORD=demo -p 10432:5432 pg_diffix_demo