The following is an excerpt from “The ultimate guide to redaction: What works, what doesn’t,” an industry guide published in the wake of recent high-profile redaction errors and designed to help everyone get redaction right. Catch up on part 1, part 2, and part 3 first.
1. Remove content, don’t mask it
Your redaction tool must burn out the text from the PDF to ensure it is completely removed from the document.
2. Handle all PDF types
Your PDF redaction tool must be equipped to handle all PDF types. When you examine a PDF file, there is no conclusive way to visually know which PDF format you’re viewing (Text-PDF, Image-PDF, Image-OCR PDF). It is vital that you use an application with tools specifically designed for redaction. The tool must (a) understand which type of PDF file it is working with; (b) remove any text in a redaction zone if the text exists and (c) permanently affix any redaction marking.
3. Redact text, graphics, images
Your redaction software should be able to permanently remove text, graphics, and images from the PDF document. So, if someone copies the content into another application, the content will not display.
4. Search and redact
This feature works much like the find and replace function in Word. Type in a word or string of words to locate them in the document. Then you can apply the redaction to one or all of them.
5. Pattern search and redact
Pattern search and redact enables you to quickly find and redact information in patterns such as credit card numbers, dates, email addresses, and social security numbers.
6. Exemption codes to explain redaction
When you redact a word, image or an area of a document, the reader will want to know why this information is blacked out. There are some standard exemption codes that are required by certain courts and other regulatory authorities. However, your software should give you the ability to write on the redacted area explaining the redaction.
7. Redaction review workflow
It is not unusual for redactions to be first marked up by a paralegal or legal assistant and then sent to a lawyer for final approval. The lawyer can then apply the redactions as needed or required.
8. Full-page and multi-page redaction
Should you want to redact an entire page; your redaction solution should provide you with the ability to redact a full page as well as a range of pages.
9. Protect the original document
When the redaction is applied or burned into the PDF document, it should not overwrite the original.
10. OCR workflow for paper documents
Your PDF application should provide OCR workflows for capturing paper documents copied or scanned and converting them to text-searchable PDFs as part of an automated process.
Get the guide to learn what works and what doesn't when it comes to PDF redaction.