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Privacy Policy (Redaction)

Duty to Redact Personal Information
The responsibility for redacting personal data identifiers rests solely with counsel and the parties. The Clerk will not review documents for compliance with this rule, seal documents containing personal data identifiers without a Court order, or redact such information from documents. See Local Rule 1007-1(H).

Advisory for Limiting Personal Information in TRANSCRIPTS
This Court's Privacy Policy, which is consistent with the policy of the Judicial Conference, restricts the publication of certain personal data in documents that are filed with the Court. The policy requires limiting Social Security and financial account numbers to the last four digits, using only initials for the names of minor children, and limiting dates of birth to the year. If such information is elicited during testimony or other court proceedings, it will become available to the public when the official transcript is filed unless, and until, it is redacted. Please take this into account when questioning witnesses or making other statements in court. If a restricted item is mentioned on the record, you may ask to have it stricken from the record or partially redacted to conform to the privacy policy, or the court may do so on its own motion.

Restricted Documents
Due to new privacy procedures, some documents filed electronically will not be available online.  When a user tries to access a document that is not available online, the System will display the message, “The document has been restricted.  If this document is not redacted or sealed it may be viewed in the Clerk’s Office...”  Restricted documents will be available for viewing and printing at the Clerk’s Office or may be purchased in paper form.  For instructions on purchasing a restricted document by mail, please call 918-699-4072.

How you redact can be as critical as what you redact.

A common error in redacting information is to use the wrong method to redact the electronic file. Below is a partial list of errors when redacting:
 

  1. Changing the font to white does make it look like the words disappear, but they don't! The words are still there and by highlighting the sentence or changing the text color, the original text can be seen.
  2. All word-processing programs (such as Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, WordStar, etc.) retain a lot of hidden code (called "metadata") that can contain revision history and other information. This metadata can reveal many things that were previously contained in the file, even text that was deleted or changed, and even if the file was re-saved. This is a useful tool for tracking revisions, but if this information is not purged from the document, anyone can view this information, possibly even after it has been converted to PDF.
  3. Adobe Acrobat has some graphic and "commenting" tools which can cover remove sections of text. The edits these tools make can easily be removed by other readers to reveal the text underneath.
  4. Ink-marking or using semi-translucent tape or paper to cover areas of a document then scanning it can still allow enough information show in the resulting document for someone to see what was assumed hidden, especially if that same data repeats a number of times in the document.

Although the Court does not endorse and cannot recommend one specific way to redact information from documents being filed, the Court does recommend that each filer research appropriate redaction techniques for the documents filed.