Enterprise redaction tool boosts security

City and local governments scrambling to find easier ways to remove sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and home addresses, from public records now have a new tool at their disposal with the release of Informative Graphics Corp.'s Redact-It enterprise server software.

The latest version of the Redact-It software suite of scanning, desktop PC and server software can detect and automatically remove private information from any file format, including PDF, TIFF, Microsoft Word and e-mail, according to company officials.

Redact-It can look for designated patterns of redactable information. To redact Social Security numbers, for example, the software looks for a pattern of numbers that equates to three digits, a dash, two more digits, a dash and another four digits.

Once the sensitive information is redacted, the software creates a new PDF, TIFF or secure Content Sealed Format file, leaving the source file unaltered.

Redact-It integrates with enterprise content management systems such as EMC Documentum, Interwoven WorkSite, Kofax Ascent Capture, Microsoft SharePoint and Open Text LiveLink ECM.

Analog methods of redaction are slow and often ineffective, said Gary Heath, chief executive officer at Informative Graphics. Some local governments have staged redaction parties ' gatherings where employees manually go through documents crossing out information with a Sharpie marker, he said.

But 'the Sharpie ink will fade at a different rate than the underlying text ink, and eventually you can read the underlying text,' Heath said. Then the information might have to be unredacted later, which can be difficult, he added.

Most redaction software pixel-paints over the document and saves it as a new painted document, which Heath called a very crude method. Redact-It, by contrast, removes the private content and publishes a new edition of the redacted document, 'so it's not just a cover over,' he said.

And because the source document is unaffected, the unredacted information is still available to authorities who might need access to it.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.


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