It seems privacy twenty years ago was easy to manage. Confidential information lived largely in paper format, was stored in filing cabinets or managed by records experts. It was difficult to share, slow to find or duplicate and easy to dispose of. 

Now we are in the age of “big data” and digital data is being created about you daily – heaps of it – and it can move around the world to be exploited in a heartbeat. Privacy and data protection regulations are trying to balance privacy, commercial opportunities with individual rights to information and imposing serious fines on public and commercial organisations for disclosure failures. How do organisations share, disclose and respect the content of information without destroying the original value or meaning?

Escalating digital content is driving disclosure

The public sector and financial services sectors amongst others are paying careful attention to the information they collect and store as they go about daily operations, and how they are then obliged to disclose information to external parties. The information may be disclosed through proactive arrangements or through personal and legal inquiries, all of which are on the rise. While risk managers review the processes to limit the collecting and storing information to business requirements and ensure collected data is either disposed of or safely stored, abiding by Privacy, Data Protection and Digital Economy legislation to disclose information is challenging.

Before disclosing information to any external stakeholder organisations must redact all private and confidential information from the documents. Balancing the integrity of the information while protecting the identity of people along with their confidential information has been done manually in the past. Administrators have “blacked out” or “sanitised” information by marking-up the document, photocopying and distributing. Imagine doing this for a 200-page document. This was a subjective, costly and error prone process that led to the unsatisfactory disclosure of confidential information and high costs.

Automating redaction processes reduces errors and saves time

Automated redaction software now makes the process of disclosure much easier. Leveraging powerful OCR and rules-based engines, redaction software can identify and remove all targeted personal and confidential information quickly. And it even strips out all hidden meta data and versions to cost effectively reduce disclosure errors. Here’s a guide to the sensitive or private information that should be redacted from documents and is easily done with redaction software.

  • Tax file numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Social security numbers
  • Professional license details
  • Driver’s license numbers
  • Addresses
  • Birth dates and other unique identifiers

Other information including health and medical information, trade secrets, court records and financial information can be quickly done using digital tools or automated based on context.

Redacting for disclosure, data storage or archiving is easy to set up, secure and quick. From a process perspective:

  1. The document file in just about any format is uploaded to the redaction application
  2. Users identify the redaction rules or targets they would like to protect
  3. The software OCRs the files, redacts the information and create an audit copy, redacted version and the original document.
  4. Reviewers may choose to view the audit copy and then complete the process by “finalising” and having the redacted version and originals stored safely in their document management system
  5. The redacted version has been sanitised and all hidden information removed – ready for disclosure

If you need assistance with your disclosure process feel free to contact one of our account managers for information on our OpenGov solution or download a free trial of Objective Redact from our website. Redaction Software for Security Conscious Organisations, like yours.