Redaction for Lawyers
A Short History on Redaction
Redaction is a basic form of editing and can be applied in a variety of contexts. On the one hand, redaction is combining texts and slightly altering it to create a single document ready to be released to the reader. It is a term used to describe the removal of specific data or content held back for security or privacy reasons.
Federal Court Redaction Rules
Federal regulations require that filings made with federal courts in the US be redacted for privacy. Redaction is a method of removing sensitive data from documents that protect individuals’ privacy or safety before the papers are made available for public viewing. While the US has not made a comprehensive privacy regulation that is all-encompassing such as the General Data Protection Regulation available to protect citizens, it does have several rules or laws that apply in specific contexts.
Redaction in Legal Agencies
The resulting discourse regarding the 2016 election and influence from other governments into the results also brought redaction into the forefront of mainstream media. Both Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the resulting public release by Attorney General William Barr showed pages and pages of redactions or text obliterated with black boxes. The enormous media attention had Americans clamoring for the details only to be somewhat mystified about the amount of redacted material. Redaction isn’t new to the public, but the large quantity of redacted material did bring more focus to the method of redaction and its use to retain privacy in legal matters.
How will AI Affect the Legal Profession
Artificial intelligence is enhancing the legal profession in a multitude of ways by increasing access to information, optimizing time management, and thus improving profitability. It is automating time and labor-intensive legal work, allowing lawyers to take on more critical tasks like providing counsel to their clients, negotiating, and appearing in court.
Proactive Public Records
You’ve got your redaction and enhancement software. You’ve got fully trained records staff, fully trained investigative staff, you’ve got the ball rolling hard on this issue of public records and media requests. And yet, you still can’t stem the tide. You’re responding to every request, but your agency is still getting less than favorable reaction from the media and the community.