The Age of Automated Redaction

If you have lived on this earth for more than a couple of decades, you do not have to look back very far to realize all of the conveniences technology has brought to our everyday lives. When it comes to the subject of online court records however, technology has made things much more complicated. Gone are the days of “practical obscurity” when a trip to the courthouse to view a paper file inherently limited access to information and court staff had control over who was looking at records and for what purpose.  

Lawmakers have been discussing the right to privacy versus online access to public records and transparency since start of the Internet age and they are not finished yet!  While balance between the two continues are to be deliberated, there is growing public demand for more convenient online access to court records. As the rest of the world provides this level of customer service, expectations for government agencies also increase. At the same time, we hear about a new data breach nearly every day.

Protecting personal information is not an excuse to completely restrict remote online access to court records. As we learn about the latest data breach, how information was obtained and the types of information compromised, we also know that making court records available online is not the only reason to protect sensitive data and stored images contained in case management systems.

How does a court begin to sort through all of these scenarios to make sure public information is accessible online while sensitive information is protected?

Some court cases and all of their contents are restricted from public view under the law because of their very nature. As times change, certain documents within these restricted cases may be deemed accessible to the public.  By the same token, certain documents in an otherwise public case may be restricted from public access and otherwise public documents may contain some sensitive data.

How does a court begin to sort through all of these scenarios to make sure public information is accessible online while sensitive information is protected?

There are strategies to help manage this complexity, even while the subject of access vs. privacy continues to be debated. Document classification within case management system can support situations where the entire document (because of its nature and purpose) is restricted but for public documents that contain sensitive data automated redaction software is the solution.


About the Author: Troy Burke

With 30 years of experience providing clients with stellar service and strategic solutions for growth and development, Troy is committed to ensuring his customers receive the highest quality solution, training and support with every implementation. He frequently speaks on the topic of redaction and is actively involved with National Association of Court Management, Property Records Industry Association and several other government organizations.