Electronic Discovery: When does Standard Redaction not Work?

“Standard” Redaction, in Electronic Discovery, involves the blacking out of the relevant material on a TIFF or PDF copy of the original document; this normally a manual task, though  there are tools to assist with the process.

However, in LTN, Craig Ball has argued that the old method is not always the best.The argument is that redaction of certain documents fails because of the data type, namely spreadsheets and databases.

The problems with redacting a spreadsheet are two fold, firstly producing a TIFF or PDF from an XLS can often result in 10s of not 100s of pages, which are hard to follow, secondly the simple act of creting a TIFF or PDF results in a loss of data, as the formulas are hidden, and they in themselves, may be important.

Craig’s suggested solution is using sofware functionailtiy built into the latest versions of Adobe and Office that allow for more advanced redaction, with a more granular approach.

While Craig is right, currnet redaction is “clumsy”, and may not give the best results, combining together multiple document handling systems and platforms, through one or multiple vendors will be awkward for both the vendor and client/reviwer.

The technology that Craig alludes to needs to be in built into review platforms from the start, rather than tagged on after wards.

Also, as spreadsheets have been exchanged as TIFFs and PDFs for nearly a decade, a wholly inappropiate manner, it may be that the legal technology companies are not as forward thinking as they would like to be.

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