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‘ScareMail’ seeks to confuse NSA programs with nonsense

scaremail-nsa-tool-nonsense_siAn Illinois man has developed a Gmail browser extension designed to randomly insert fake, nonsensical stories into the signature of every email one sends to confuse the NSA’s surveillance operations.

Benjamin Grosser says “ScareMail” takes keywords from an  extensive US Department of Homeland Security list used to troll  social media websites and utilizes them “to disrupt the NSA’s  surveillance efforts by making NSA search results useless.”
The buzzwords include the likes of “Al-Qaeda” and   “Al-Shabab,” yet also more mundane terms like “breach,”  “threat,” “death” and “hostage,” among many others.
Documents released by former National Security Agency contractor  Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA uses the “selector”   terms to sift through Internet data it collects via a tool known  as XKEYSCORE.”
“If every email contains the word ‘plot,’ or ‘facility,’ for  example, then searching for those words becomes a fruitless  exercise. A search that returns everything is a search that  returns nothing of use,” Grosser says.
Grosser, 43, said the extension tool, which took him about three weeks to build, is a form of protest in that he hopes it will overwhelm or frustrate the agency’s programs with superfluous information.
For example, he shows on his website how a typical ScareMail  sentence could begin: “Captain Beatty failed on his  Al-Shabaab, hacking relentlessly about the fact to phish this  far, and strand her group on the wall-to-wall in calling  suspicious packages….”
Not only is ScareMail designed to combat NSA spying, but it is a  project aimed at exploring the relationship between words and  surveillance. He writes on his site, the “ability to use  whatever words we want is one of our most basic freedoms, yet the  NSA’s growing surveillance of electronic speech threatens our  first amendment rights… ScareMail reveals one of the primary  flaws of the NSA’s surveillance efforts: words do not equal  intent.”

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