SOURCE: Informative Graphics Corporation

Informative Graphics Corporation

March 02, 2009 08:45 ET

Informative Graphics Issues Paper on How to Redact Documents and Prevent Inadvertent Disclosure of Privileged Information

Improper Electronic Redaction Continues to Plague Organizations Engaged in Litigation, Creating Increased Risk Due to Public Leaking of Sensitive Information

SCOTTSDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - March 2, 2009) - Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), a leader in viewing, annotation and redaction software, today issued warnings against improper electronic redaction to organizations releasing sensitive information to the media, especially those engaged in litigation. IGC cites recent cases involving failed redaction procedures and provides guidelines for how to redact documents properly to avoid inadvertent public disclosure of sensitive information. The recommendations are available in a new whitepaper titled "Electronic Redaction: How to Properly Redact Documents," available at

"We continue to see very public examples of improper redaction performed by major corporations and governmental organizations that have unwittingly revealed business strategy, financial data and Personally Identifiable Information (PII)," said Gary Heath, CEO of IGC. "The importance of properly eliminating metadata from redacted content cannot be overstated because it can result in significant legal and financial consequences."

Topping the list of errors made during the redaction process are:

--  manual overlay of an opaque rectangle over text in a word processing
    program, then publishing the document as a PDF believing the information is
    no longer retrievable. A simple cut and paste can retrieve the text for
    easy viewing. (This is demonstrated in the brief video accompanying this
--  use of redaction solutions that do not remove metadata which also
    allow cut and paste access to "hidden" data through metadata viewers.

In May of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported(1) that "one could download several documents through PACER's federal court filing system, copy the black bars that cover the text on the screen and paste them into a Word document. And, like magic, there would appear information about the inner-workings of GE's white, male-dominated management and their alleged discriminatory practices against women, which is supposed to be sealed by court order. . . ."

In a more recent incident(2) involving Facebook, the Internet's largest social network, the Associated Press (AP) reported that it was able to read blacked-out portions of a June transcript involving a legal settlement against ConnectU. A reporter at AP accomplished this by copying redacted text from an electronic version of the document and pasting the results into another document to reveal Facebook's internal valuation, showing that the company was valued less than speculated.

Because of these concerns surrounding redaction, IGC issued recommendations and best practices to help organizations protect sensitive content through proper redaction, including:

--  Writing of a formal redaction policy with respect to who performs
    redaction, what kind of documents require it and training required for
    current and new employees.
--  Selection of a redaction expert to trust with sensitive information.
    This person will be responsible for setting up the company's redaction
    policy, including recommending or selecting the redaction tool (or working
    with the IT department to do so), learning to use the selected tool
    properly, and then either performing all redactions or training other
--  Identification of an organization's redaction needs and selection of a
    redaction tool that fits business needs to save financial and human
--  Selection of an electronic redaction tool that completely removes
    metadata and automates the redaction processes to minimize human error.

IGC provides standalone and electronic redaction enabled technologies that include Redact-It Desktop, allowing the redaction of any format document, including Microsoft Office, TIFF and PDF files. For integration with Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems, IGC provides Redact-It Enterprise®, a highly scalable, fault-tolerant redaction server for bulk processing of document and image files on-demand as part of a workflow process. IGC software solutions are used by state and local governments, law firms and corporate legal departments to cleanse privacy information from documents that include government forms, digital documents and files retrieved for litigation purposes and public records.

The recommendations are available at:

About Informative Graphics

Informative Graphics Corporation (IGC), founded in 1990, is a leading developer of commercial software products for content visualization, secure publishing, and collaboration. Renowned for their cost-saving value, ease of use, features and scalability, ICG products are deployed by thousands of corporations in the United States and internationally. In addition to Redact-It Desktop and Enterprise, IGC also markets Brava!, a multi-format viewer with redaction and annotation capabilities. IGC maintains offices in the United States and has key distribution and OEM partners worldwide. For more information, visit

Informative Graphics is a registered trademark of Informative Graphics Corporation, and Redact-It is a trademark of Informative Graphics Corporation. All other names are the properties of their respective owners.

(1) When is 'Under Seal' Not 'Under Seal'? GE Finds Out the Hard Way, Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2008

(2) Facebook Only Worth $3.7B, Documents Show, Associated Press, February 11, 2009

Contact Information

  • Contact

    Christine Musil
    Informative Graphics Corporation
    Tel: (602) 971-6061, ext. 133
    Fax: (602) 971-1714
    Email: Email Contact

    Joe Austin
    Ventana PR for IGC
    (818) 591-2646
    Email Contact