Anyone fed up with the NSA spying on their emails has a new tool to say “screw you” to the government organization. The ScareMail plugin, developed by digital artist Ben Grosser of Illinois, works with Gmail to help befuddle any prying eyes.
The plugin adds a string of nonsensical garble to the end of each email. Although the average user can’t derive much meaning from the sentences, the words are specifically designed to be flagged by NSA programs, thereby flooding their systems and possibly making some NSA agents scratch their heads.
According to Grosser, the plugin chooses an assortment of keywords from a US Department of Homeland Security list.
An example paragraph posted by The Guardian reads "'I'm sorry. One crashes to fail careful.' He mutated but had not important, we mustn’t vaccinate Palestine Liberation Organisation, seem it!'"
Not exactly great literature, but theoretically good enough to confuse the heck out of the NSA.
Said Grosser, "One of the strategies used by the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) email surveillance programs is the detection of predetermined keywords. These “selectors”, as they refer to them internally, are used to identify communications by presumed terrorists. Large collections of words have thus become codified as something to fear, as an indicator of intent. The result is a governmental surveillance machine run amok, algorithmically collecting and searching our digital communications in a futile effort to predict behaviours based on words in emails.”
Despite Grosser’s cleverness, it seems unlikely that NSA agents would be fooled for long. Each nonsensical paragraph is introduced by the words "Following Text Generated by ScareMail."
Still, Grosser’s message is clear amid the lines of gibberish: “All ScareMail does is add words from the English language to emails written by users of the software. By doing so, ScareMail reveals one of the primary flaws of the NSA’s surveillance efforts: words do not equal intent."