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Privacy Encryption

Introducing the NSA-Proof Crypto-Font 259

Daniel_Stuckey writes "At a moment when governments and corporations alike are hellbent on snooping through your personal digital messages, it'd sure be nice if there was a font their dragnets couldn't decipher. So Sang Mun built one. Sang, a recent graduate from the Rhode Island Schoold of Design, has unleashed ZXX — a 'disruptive typeface' that he says is much more difficult to the NSA and friends to decrypt. He's made it free to download on his website, too. 'The project started with a genuine question: How can we conceal our fundamental thoughts from artificial intelligences and those who deploy them?' he writes. 'I decided to create a typeface that would be unreadable by text scanning software (whether used by a government agency or a lone hacker) — misdirecting information or sometimes not giving any at all. It can be applied to huge amounts of data, or to personal correspondence.' He named it after the Library of Congress's labeling code ZXX, which archivists employ when they find a book that contains 'no linguistic content.'"
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Introducing the NSA-Proof Crypto-Font

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  • Easy to crack? (Score:5, Informative)

    by doomtiki ( 789936 ) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @06:01PM (#44080915)
    Given that this seems to be just a simple font, why would it be hard to write an OCR program to decipher specifically this font (or any other supposedly secure font)? Perhaps a program that dynamically obfuscated text like a CAPTCHA would be more useful. This appears to be more of an artistic statement than something useful.
  • by Bruce66423 ( 1678196 ) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @06:03PM (#44080931)
    which is only subsequently translated into a type face when the item is converted into an image which doesn't contain the letters. So all your data would have to be held as such PDFs, which are no longer searchable.Nice idea - shame about the reality
  • Re:Easy to crack? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @06:06PM (#44080955)

    It isn't any more difficult to crack. Moreover, the absolute only way it would introduce any difficulty at all is if the NSA is scanning images of text. You can bet 95% or more of the data they intercept is already in digital form. The computer already knows what letters are what, so this will help precisely not at all, unless you start sending your emails in image formats, in which case, which is... yeah, not exactly a good plan. Just use encryption if it needs to be secure. This doesn't do anything.

  • Yeah... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Georules ( 655379 ) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @06:13PM (#44081005)
    Looks like a fun little project, but subverted about as trivially as a ROT-13. A dynamic font might be a little better.

    How can we conceal our fundamental thoughts from artificial intelligences and those who deploy them?

    By using a real form of encryption.

  • I don't think the creater understands that fonts aren't sent to a recipient, only the Unicode. To make this work you would have to write it, turn the paper into a photo and send that. The parents idea or 1337 would be less work.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 22, 2013 @08:32PM (#44081809)

    Undecipherable my ass.

    More importantly, it's not as though the NSA reads your email by printing it out and sending it off for OCR... Font doesn't mean much if you have the document in any remotely sane digital format.

    Speaking from experience as the copier repair guy, government agencies do in fact print stuff out so they can scan it - all the time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 22, 2013 @10:54PM (#44082413)

    TFA explains all. It's only undecipherable to the OCR software that he tried, he's well aware that it won't remain undecipherable for long, and he sees it as an exercise in awareness rather than security.

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde