Publish documents containing sensitive data with redaction

For different reasons, organizations often have to publish documents that also contain sensitive data that cannot be published, such as personal or financial data. One reason for this might be a law or other regulation. Many public sector organizations have the obligation to publish contracts and other documents that usually also contain sensitive data.

In addition to this, organizations would often like to prevent download of original documents, or want to download a read only format, such as PDF.

With Sense/Net Document Preview and redaction, all this is possible.

What is redaction? According to Wikipedia:

 “The word may be used in relation to obscuring or deleting specific information, rather than editing an entire document; e.g. a court may order that the names of people be redacted (from a document).”

Redaction in a document management system simply means drawing and burning a black rectangle over specific areas of documents, rendering all information on that area unreadable.

As you can see, the chart for 2014 is redacted from this document, along with several other parts of the text.

If you only have Restricted Preview permission, you can only see the redacted version of the document. The redaction is actually burnt into the preview image, so there is no way to remove it, even if you can hack your browser. The black rectangles are in the image file, not drawn by JavaScript. If you have the Preview Without Redaction or Open permission, you have the option to hide the rectangles, in this case they are not burnt into the images themselves.

How it works? When you preview the file, a JavaScript based rich UI manipulates the images, so you can scroll, zoom, pan and page through them. You can also add highlights, annotations and redactions on the same user interface, by simply drawing with your mouse, naturally, only if you have the proper permissions to do so (Save).

Documents can also be downloaded as PDF, but redaction will be burnt into the PDF as well, based on your permissions.

Summarizing it:

  • Preview documents without downloading, right in your browser
  • Add and edit redaction from your browser, with appropriate permission
  • Preview with or without redactions, based on permissions
  • Burn redactions into images, original content is removed totally
  • Optionally download redacted version in PDF
  • No plugin or installation needed
  • Works on tablets
  • Reusable JavaScript code
  • Use redactions in your own development

For more details on permissions, visit the wiki documentation:

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