ZXX: A Typeface To Resist Surveillance

zxxAvailable for free download, designer Sang Mun’s ZXX fonts are examples of how to elude character-recognizing artificial intelligence in style:

During my service in the Korean military, I worked as special intelligence personnel for the NSA, learning first-hand how to extract information from defense targets. Now, as a designer, I am influenced by these experiences continue the evolution of my own thinking about censorship, surveillance, and a free society.

Over the course of a year, I researched and created ZXX, a disruptive typeface that would be unreadable by text scanning software. It takes its name from the Library of Congress’ listing of three-letter codes denoting which language a book is written in. Code “ZXX” is used when there is: “No linguistic content; Not applicable.”

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  • Ittabena

    Jacob,

    The Download link seems to be dead = 404 not found. : (

  • Calypso_1

    The character swap could still be recognized by OCR and decrypted with minimal effort.

    • Ittabena

      Good to know. And really all you would have to do is download the same font and you would be able to read it.

      Actually I think I have something better already.

      • Calypso_1

        Its just steganography…which is what it is. You really need crypto. All these efforts are going to get you flagged regardless. Talking in coded language with compatriots is secure and can be used out in the open.

        • Ittabena

          I don’t care if the NSA reads what I encrypt, and they can drape as many flags on it that they like. I am more worried about “man in the middle crap” and protecting corporate information on a fledgling corporation. Since these communications are going overseas, this becomes even more important.

  • Anarchy Pony

    I like the idea of pigeon internet now, it’s grown on me.

  • Jonas Planck

    H҉̀e̴͞ ̛wa̴͝i͢t̷̛͞s b̧ey͘͢on̨d̸̀ ̵̶t̡̛hè̸͘ ҉̡w͜҉̴a͢l̸̢͠ls
    .̡͝..̡͡
    ̕͢H̸̴͘È͞ ͡C͟͏O͢ME̢S

    • Jonas Planck

      lol, Zalgo fail.

  • InfvoCuernos

    So, now we have to read and write in captcha? this sucks.

  • David Hind

    If I should tell you how I feel by mail,
    it would be read by agents at the PRISM.
    They’d send a drone or lock me in a jail
    or punish me with public ostracism.

    And this is why you never must forget
    to use a safe connection and encryption.
    No watcher then can figure in his head
    if you write English or Antique Egyptian.

  • Noah_Nine

    we need a graffiti font… that stuff can be neigh upon impossible to read sometimes….

  • Roars

    you realize there probably just going to program in something to recognize these fonts and decrypt out the false data before the scan

  • Paweł Śmieszek

    Unfortunately it’s not so easy.

    http://grahamcluley.com/2013/06/zxx-font-nsa/