I first saw this Washington Post story on Inter Alia today and made a note to myself to look at it further. After all, one of the most basic things you have to know in dealing with evidence is how to correctly redact it, including how to redact not just the image file, but also the underlying OCR text. In Summation, you cover yourself by creating a production set whenever you have to produce documents, and you make triple sure that you burn in the redactions on the image so there is nothing hiding underneath the “whited out” section, and then only release OCR text if necessary, and even then you go back and redact the same text you redacted in the TIFFs.
All that being said, it’s not really that hard to do. When you follow proper procedures, it should pretty much be a no-brainer, I would think.
Apparently, someone at the FTC didn’t follow procedures, since they didn’t even create images on the first attempt. They got it done correctly the second time, but only after an embarrassing situation became obvious.
“In the original version, the words looked redacted but were actually just electronically shaded black. The words could be searched, copied, pasted and read. The second version of the document was filed using scanned pages of the redacted documents. There is no way to remove the blacked-out portions from the final copy.”
Although, I’m still pretty new to the Litigation Support game, I probably shouldn’t crow too loudly. I’m sure to have a few screw ups of my own as time goes by.
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