A surveillance-proof font?

A former NSA-contractor has designed typefaces that resist government and other spycraft

Published September 30, 2013 6:45PM (EDT)

 Surveillance-resistant typeface   (Vimeo/Sang Mun)
Surveillance-resistant typeface (Vimeo/Sang Mun)

It's not the perfect defense against our current state of near-totalized communications surveillance, but it's something: A former NSA contractor, Sang Mun, has designed a font he says is highly difficult for a surveillance text scanner to decipher.

As CNN reported:

[T]he Korean designer has created four new fonts called ZXX that aim to disrupt the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems used by Google and others to analyze text.

"I decided to create a typeface that would be unreadable by text scanning software (whether used by a government agency or a lone hacker)," Mun told CNN via email, "misdirecting information or sometimes not giving any at all."

Each font uses a different optical trick to make them difficult to scan: 'Camo' adds camouflage-like patterns over letters, 'Noise' overlays the letters with dots, 'Xed' puts a neat X across each character, and 'False' uses a small letter beneath a larger 'false' one.

Watch a video about Mun's anti-surveillance fonts:

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Countersurveillance Design Edward Snowden Font Nsa Sang Mun Spying Surveillance Type Typeface Video