Tuesday, June 1, 2010

CNN's bad e-redaction

Earlier today, Al and Tipper Gore announced that they were separating after 40 years of marriage. As if this weren't awful enough, CNN posted online a PDF copy of the e-mail announcement that they sent to their friends and supporters . . . but without properly redacting their private e-mail address. Someone at CNN apparently drew a black box over the e-mail address, but didn't remove the underlying metadata. As a result, CNN readers who clicked on the black box were able to view the e-mail address hidden underneath. The post has since been revised to exclude the e-mail address, but the original version of the post was up on CNN's site for a couple of hours. Ugh.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize that proper redaction of PDF files is one of my pet causes. If you ever need to redact a PDF file, here are a few tips that should help ensure that you won't end up like CNN . . . or the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Google, Facebook, or any of the other organizations that have been stung by their own (or their lawyers') lack of technical knowledge.

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