Governments and companies have been scanning documents into electronic formats for years, which makes the information easier to store and use.
The problem is that some of the information on the documents can be shared while other information needs to be kept private.
The process of removing the sensitive information in a document is called document redaction. Some organizations also refer to this process as “sanitizing.”
We have all seen document redaction on the news when the CIA releases documents with parts blacked out (like you see to the right).
This is a function of the increased access to the documents and to correct more lax privacy policies that were acceptable before the widespread problem of identity theft.
As we move towards a paperless office, redacting is becoming common for any organization to protect privacy and ensure sensitive information isn’t released by accident.
Examples of Ways to Utilize Document Redaction Services
One example where document redaction is used regularly is with electronic health records.
While it is beneficial for a medical office to share a patient charts with the entire practice, a patient’s social security number shouldn’t be easy to access or shared within the office.
In the past, a social security number was the insurance number. This can put social security numbers on many more forms, paperwork, patient history, and in charts.
When the files are converted to electronic records, this sensitive information that’s sought after by identity thieves needs to be redacted.
Another is example is with public records. Any public information, which is defined as documents or pieces of information that are not considered confidential. and is easily accessed by the public, can still provide detailed information about individuals and businesses.
Although this information is available to the public, there are items in public records that can be redacted to protect privacy.
Specific redaction allowances and laws vary by state- here’s an example of items that can be redact from court cases in California:
- Driver license numbers
- Dates of birth
- Social security numbers
- Criminal Identification and Information and National Crime Information numbers
- Addresses and phone numbers of parties
- Victims, witnesses, and court personnel
- Medical or psychiatric information
- Financial information
- Account numbers
- Any other personal identifying information.
Even land deed contain information that should be shared like bank account numbers. In both examples provided, there is private information that should be protected. This isn’t just good practice- it’s required by federal privacy laws.
Document redaction should not just cover text or images with another image- it should remove be removed for the image completely. This prevents the sensitive information from showing up in the revision history of the document and can easily be removed by software.
The Steps in Document Redaction Services
Most document redaction takes place in two steps. The first one is done via software. The digital image is converted to text via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.
The text is run through software designed to look for specific patterns. Items like social security numbers or phone numbers that need to be identified and removed are selected by the software and removed.
The second step involves a person actually reviewing the document.
The level of access to the documents and sensitivity of the information present will determine how thoroughly the documents need to be reviewed, but it’s obvious that removing social security numbers from a public website has a very low threshold for acceptable errors.
Since document redaction requires specialized software, it’s usually outsourced to a company that specializes in document redaction. A reputable company will ensure that the job is not only done correctly- it also provides specific steps to ensure documents are secure before, during, and after this process.
Make sure you get references and review jobs they have done in the past before selecting a redaction service for your job.
Record Nations works with the top document redaction services. Let us connect you to a local document redaction specialist that guarantees the best results .Our goal is to help you find the best fit for your sanitization needs.
To get free quotes on document redaction service today, fill out the form to the right, or give us a call at (866) 385-3706. Within minutes of receiving your request, you will have local experts in your area that can help you find the right services for your specific needs.