To Redact or Cover Up With a Black Box?

If you don’t want someone to have certain data, then don’t send it to them. Cutesy features like placing a colored box on top of text are next to worthless when it comes to protecting sensitive data. Obscuring the ability of the eye to see the data protects it from 90% of people, yes. However, one can usually get to data in a file in multiple ways. Unfortunately, lawyers and legal assistants are not likely the ones to know this.

Maybe this should be a wake up call to Adobe and other PDF software creators to actually devise a means to redact information from PDFs?

AT&T leaks sensitive info in NSA suit | CNET News.com

Lawyers for AT&T accidentally released sensitive information while defending a lawsuit that accuses the company of facilitating a government wiretapping program, CNET News.com has learned.

AT&T’s attorneys this week filed a 25-page legal brief striped with thick black lines that were intended to obscure portions of three pages and render them unreadable….

But the obscured text nevertheless can be copied and pasted inside some PDF readers, including Preview under Apple Computer’s OS X and the xpdf utility used with X11.