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Aug 16, 2007

Failed redaction reveals trade secrets

Lawyers acting for the US Federal Trade Commission in an anti-trust case against a food company released inadequately-redacted documents, thereby disclosing highly sensitive proprietary information about the company's competitive strategies - "dozens of trade secrets" according to the Washington Post article. The failed redaction attempt involved pasting black blocks over the relevant text but since the original text was there 'underneath', it was a simple matter to remove the blocks from the electronic documents published. After being alerted to the gaffe, the lawyers printed and scanned the redacted documents: the hidden text cannot be revealed from the published scanned images, but of course it's all too late since Associated Press got the originals.