What is Document Redaction?
Document Redaction or Document Sanitization is the process of blacking out or removing any sensitive information from a document so it can be used and distributed, but still protects confidential information too, or in easy word, if you have seen some spy movies where we get to see some documents in which some information has been blacked out, that’s exactly what Document Redaction is.
When the American public got its first look at two-volume “Report On The Investigation of Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election” and some may have been startled to see how much of the 450-page document—7.30 percent of the text, according to news website Vox, had been blacked out.
Why are Documents Redacted?
Now you might be wondering why some information is blacked out from documents what’s the need of hiding information, Sensitive information that could be used to commit fraud or expose private information should be redacted, following are the possible reason
- Social security numbers
- Driver’s license or professional license numbers
- Protected health information and other medical information
- Financial documents and files
- Proprietary information or trade secrets
- Judiciary records
- People’s addresses, date of births, and other unique identifiers
Document Redaction is mostly used in government official documents when government doesn’t want you to know or some official information which can be misused if came in the wrong hands.
The Process of Redaction
There are two types of documents in the modern world, the physical ones which are written on paper and there are digital documents which are made on the computer, the process of Redaction of documents totally depends on the nature of the document. Document redaction is not the process of just covering text or image but it should be removed from the image completely. This helps in preventing sensitive information coming up in the revision history of the document which can now be easily removed by software.
Manual redaction involves the process of printing documents and then covering or removing sensitive content with the help of black marker or opaque tape. After that, the document is re-scanned so it can be stored and distributed digitally. Another way of manual redaction is that you can cut out the information that needs to be removed. This method is too much time-consuming like the first one.
As businesses become completely paperless, more often it is digital documents that need redaction. Usual techniques for making electronic content unreadable, for example- covering words with opaque colors or changing the text color to white, do not actually work and don’t redact anything. Even though you can’t read that content, the underlying data still exists in the form of metadata. Metadata can store anything that was present in the file at any period of time. Whilst metadata is very useful to view document revisions and is able to “undo,” it can be difficult to redact. by the use of consumer software, the process is quite complicated and still may leave behind some sensitive information. Additionally, as many businesses generate thousands of documents, in-house redaction may be impossible.
That’s why big companies outsource their Document Redaction service to firms which provide this service to save time and then utilize that time to focus on other works which are much more important.