Redaction is the permanent removal of sensitive information, and it is often used in legal, government and HR business processes. In electronic documents, redaction is not just ‘black out’ or ‘white out’ as you would do with paper documents, it requires the complete removal of the sensitive information from the file. Redaction and Document Inspection, usually referred to as “metadata scrubbing”, are two complementary processes. The simple explanation is that redaction removes what you read on the screen, while Document Inspection removes sensitive information that may reside in other parts of the PDF file, such as Bookmarks, Links, attachments, comments and so on.
Mark Redaction – manually redact any area on a page, including text and/or graphics. This method offers the ability to Mark Areas on All Pages, which can remove repetitive elements such as fax headers, bates stamps and so on.
Search and Redact – there are multiple methods to automate the redaction process. You can search for a single word or phrase, or multiple words and phrases. In addition to searching for specific terms, you can also perform pattern searches to identify items to be redacted.
When you use the ‘Search for multiple words or phrases, you have the option build up a list of terms and Export it for re-use. The Export process allows you to save your list of redaction words and phrases as a .TXT file. When the next batch of documents pertaining to the same matter needs to be redacted, you save time through a simple Import of the saved list and apply it to the new documents.
You can also search for specific types of data by using the “Looks Like Search ™ Pattern” to identify Employment Numbers (SSN) or Phone Numbers in multiple countries’ styles, or you can search for Credit Card Numbers, E-mail Address or Date.
Beyond the five basic patterns, we also offer “Looks Like Search™ Custom Patterns” to find items such as client or matter numbers, employee ID, part numbers and other predictable patterns. We offer a series of ‘wild card’ search features to build up any string of Alpha, Numeric or Punctuation Marks which you can then use for Redaction.
NOTE: All of these search features can also be used for Search and Markup, allowing you to automatically add Highlight, Cross-out or Underline terms throughout the current document, selected documents in a package, an entire package, or an entire folder.
After you apply Redaction you are presented with the option to Inspect Document. This process is commonly referred to as “metadata scrubbing” in law firms. After you use Redaction to protect sensitive information that is visible in a PDF file, you can then scrub other areas within the PDF file that may contain sensitive information that must be removed.
Unlike other solutions for this purpose, which are typically ‘all or nothing’, we provide the option to selectively remove certain types of data and leave other information if you like. For example, you may want to leave functional items such as Bookmarks or Links in the document for future ease of navigation. In this case, “Metadata” refers to the Document Properties of a PDF file, including elements like Title, Author, Subject, Created, Modified, Application and PDF Producer.
After Applying Redaction and Document Inspection, you are prompted to Save and Close the file. Best practice is to use Save As to create a new file. This offers two advantages, the first is the ability to save the original version of the file. The second advantage is that when you use Save As in PDF, you are in effect creating a new file. Since you are creating the new file after redaction and scrubbing, none of the removed material was ever part of the file, so there is no chance of sensitive information leaking through the discovery process.