A Typeface Designed To Thwart Spying Computers

A Typeface Designed To Thwart Spying Computers

If people are snooping on your textual communications and you don’t like it, there are a couple of things you can do. You can try to block the prying eyes, you can stop saying things you don’t want to be seen, or you can make your messages make no sense to the outside. The anti-authoritarian typeface ZXX is shooting for that last one.

Named ZXX after the Library of Congress’s three-letter code for books found to contain “no linguistic content,” the weird typeface was designed by Sang Mun to be unreadable to very specific type of spy: a computer.

A graduate from the Rhode Island Schoold of Design, Mun designed each one of his ZXX fonts — Camo, False, Noise, and Xed — to fool computer text-recognition systems in its own unique way, while still remaining relatively readable to the human eye. Some of the tactics are pretty clever.

But would this really work? Well no. Not at all, and there’s a whole number of reasons why. The NSA’s spying in particular has to do with stuff that’s already digital, so font choice is moot. This would only help disguise text from a security camera, for example. And even then, all it takes to decode one of these “secret messages” is a human. There are plenty of those around. It’s a far cry from encryption.

Instead, it’s more of a design exercise in bending over backwards to try and avoid the ease of interpretation that we tend to look for in communication when it relates to computers, but preserve it when it comes to meatbags. ZXX is available for free download if you’re looking to print up some posters you don’t want CCTV cams or Google Glass to be able to scan. [Walker Blogs via Motherboard]