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What Is Redaction and Why it's Super Important to Redact?

What Is a Redaction

Whether you want to conceal all the information to protect an individual's private information, legal documents, or compliance, you will certainly come across the word "REDACTION."

A lot has changed in today's era when it comes to redaction. It's no longer available for printed documents but is also used for image, video, and audio files, but each of them has its own set of challenges.

Back in the past, this process was done with a black 'Sharpie,' but the technology has evolved greatly these days. To conduct this process, people can use AI-based software or online tools.

 In today's guide, you will gain certain information about this method in detail. You will learn about its importance when utilizing this procedure and many other things. So now, let's get started.

Redaction: A Brief Description

Besides its close relationship with publishing, redaction is defined as a unique form of reworking method. At times, it can also include censoring, altering, and even combining all forms of documents or sensitive information to prepare it for publication.

This particular process involves an in-depth analysis of the document or text, which makes it a bit similar to translation. Redaction is something that needs to be conducted with the utmost caution to prevent the sharing of confidential information, plagiarism, or publishing of the document.

What Makes Redaction So Important In Today's Time?

To have a good understanding of the importance of redaction, let's look at some examples. Back in 2016, the US Department of Justice conducted an investigation into the interferences within the Presidential Election, and in 2019, all the documents were published.

Those documents possessed plenty of information right, from the jury names to the investigative methods. All these things were possible due to redaction. If this method was not used, all the confidential information would be available to the public.

All the investigative procedures, the names, and various other private data would be exposed. This is an example of a legal document, but what about the other types of documents? In the majority of situations, published sensitive information will contain a lot of mistakes.

This is especially true when the redaction method is not utilized. Texts like these or scientific research papers might even get rejected due to errors or mistakes present in them. So, how do you produce a redacted document? Well, firstly, it's not easy to mention the steps of it.

It's mainly because, just like translation, this method takes a new shape with every new test. But there are some primary points to which you must pay attention. Grammar and spelling mistakes are one of the main points that you take care of.

Besides that, the tone and style adjustments are the other points that you need to take care of. When confidentiality is the top emphasis, censoring certain information is something that comes before any of these points.

Redaction vs Masking: The Contrast

Even though many experts think that redacting and editing are pretty similar to each other, that's certainly not the case here. You are well aware of what exactly redacting is, but now, let's learn what's Masking. Masking is pretty similar to "proofreading," where you have to conduct changes right from rearrangement to correction.

The actual purpose of this method is to make the final product suitable for the reason behind its creation. It also contains a diverse range of activities when compared to other procedures. Let's come to review.

This is an assessment procedure of countless products, which includes trade secrets. Reviewing a restaurant, a document, a book, or a movie are some of the illustrations that you surely come across in your life.

Apart from that, reviewing the social security document and also in translation does not involve making any changes to the final product. It might serve as an informative basis for these modifications.

Under the translation work, all these terms might be a little difficult to distinguish from one another, and it's because they take place once the translation work is completed. But in other sections, you can develop a product through the redacting process. This means it can occur right before the final section, which is not possible in reviewing or reworking.

What are the Best Practices of Redaction?

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The redacting work is conducted in the form of an ethical obligation to cover up all the private data, such as personal files, social security numbers, court documents, etc., for all the entities or individuals. But under this section, you will learn about some of the common and popular practices of the redacting process.

License Plates

When it comes to the license plate numbers, there are not many direct rulings on the redaction for it. But many of the jurisdictions don't even consider them as private data, which makes them information that can be used wrongfully. Even a tribunal in Virginia, United States, has upheld the license plate numbers as "not private data."

Although this type of information is distributed among vehicle owners, it's used by law enforcement to detect the whereabouts of individuals and a lot more things. That's why it's suggested to conduct redacting work on such data when sharing with people.

According to the California Supreme Court, back in 2017, the judge passed the order to replace the license plate numbers with some unique detectors to protect the identity of all drivers.


Objects are not directly identified as personal data, and the need for their redacting work is not that inflexible. In general, paper lying around, blackboards, screens, etc., get redacted from the videos to maintain confidentiality.

It's because they can carry data that can lead to economic, social, or physical harm to an entity or an organization.

Many of the objects have to be blurred out to follow the local broadcasting and television rules and internet laws. For instance, the "Korean Laws" need weapons to blur out all the crucial information or circumstances, which are aired on television.

People or Faces

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The most common practice of redaction is blurring or blocking the faces of individuals or people. There are certain circumstances where it might be needed. Faces of people are blurred out when they do not wish to be visible in a video.

You will certainly come across these types of things on paranormal videos when reporting a crime and prank videos where individuals do not wish to reveal their identity. Besides that, there are some companies that offer individuals the right to remove their data.

Submitted or presenting crucial documents or evidence in the courtroom and the faces of individuals who are not relevant to the case must be blurred.

What are the Compliance Needs for Redaction?

When you're aware of the various kinds of information that are protected through the redacting method, let's check out all the actual rules of this methodology as per the several compliances. Even though you will come across many compliances, the following list has some of the crucial ones.


The redacting approach falls under the "De-Identification Standard" of the HIPAA guidance. This rule needs to be followed by all the covered entities that take care of the PHI or Patient Health Information. 

These entities must also protect and must not share PHI with people who are not concerned with it. But under certain situations, they might have to. For example, requirements by law enforcement, clinical research needs, etc. It's under all these situations where the PHI should get redacted right before it gets shared.

FOIA [Freedom of Information Act]

FOIA is a law that enables the public to make a request to disclose all the information that is held by public companies. When public companies don't disclose specific kinds of data, which are placed under FOIA's 9 exemption, which includes private information.

When the information under 1 out of the 9 exemptions is present in an image, audio, document, or video, the companies have to redact it right before they think of sharing them with the public.

The California Rules of Court

According to Rule 1.201 Section [A] of California Rules of Court, all the personal data within the filings made to the tribunal go through the redacting work. Under 8.83, it needs the records to be made visible to the public. Other tribunals also have a similar need for public disclosure and filings.


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Redaction does fall under GDPR's Articles 9, 15, and 17. Under Article 9, when you share the information with the other parties to whom the information doesn't have any consent, you need to redact all the personal data. For Article 15, data subjects are eligible to enter the information data controllers present on them.

When all the data controllers provide all this information to the data subject, there is a possibility that the personal data of other data subjects might be included. Take a video with many people, and the request is made by just one individual.

During such cases, the information provided by other individuals must go through the redacting work. Lastly, in Article 17, the data subjects do have the privilege of erasure. Here, all the data controllers are requested by the data subjects to eliminate all the data related to them.

In these situations, data controllers can easily get rid of the data, or just the part redacted that contains private information.

Redactable: The Best Software for Redacting Data

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In today's digital era, redacting a document, video, or audio has become extremely easy. It's all thanks to software like Redactable. Speaking of Redactable, this software is currently dominating the market for being an easy-to-use and super-fast redacting tool.

You can easily and permanently redact all kinds of records without experiencing many issues. All the first-time users will not face much difficulty because they will receive guidance throughout the redacting work. There is no presence of complicated training or manuals.

The best thing about Redactable is that you can easily access and save all the redacted records in the cloud from all browsers. This means that there is no necessity for plugins or downloads.

You can also organize all your redacted work, right from setting up a hierarchical review work to task management. The software can be accessed from all devices, including smartphones and tablets.

Want to Redact a Document? Choose Redactable

Redacting videos, records, and audio has become compulsory in today's era. It will not just provide all the private or personal information of a business or a person. But it will also prevent it from getting exposed to unauthorized individuals or the general public.

This is where tools like Redactable come in. The software is designed to redact records permanently without any errors or mistakes. It's pretty much easier to use and comes in paid and free versions.

The free or demo version is ideal for businesses or people who wish to check out the performance of the software. Redactable works on all operating systems and will provide effective and positive results.

If you plan to opt for the premium or paid version, check out its pricing options

Are you all ready to do some redacting work? Get Redactable today!

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