Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A New NCSC Report on Automated Redaction 

In a follow-up to the July paper on “Best Practices for Court Privacy Policy Formulation”, the NCSC with the support of The State Justice Institute, the new paper, "Automated Redaction Proof of Concept Report" addresses the need for policies and technology for redaction of protected information. 

More below…


The paper begins with the background and goals for automated redaction.  They write:

Section 1.0 of the Revised Model Policy for Electronic Public Access to Court Case Records states the fundamental purposes of the policy:

a. Maximize accessibility of court case records.
b. Protect users of the court from harm.
c. Make effective use of court resources.

The policy goes on to explain:

Accessibility is maximized for several reasons:  to enhance public trust and confidence, to be accountable, to be transparent, to improve customer service, and to reveal common law. Protection from harm includes individuals, business organizations, government agencies, and the public at large.

When balancing openness against potential harm, courts should make the rationales for their decisions explicit. Remote public access is part of a much larger strategy to provide court services online to improve access and convenience and to reduce cost. Cost and efficiency considerations refer to both user costs and court operational costs.

Automated redaction capabilities hold the promise of furthering all three goals:

a. Maximizing accessibility of court case records: with proven redaction capabilities, policy makers could confidently expand the case types and document types that are available to the public.

b. Protecting users of the court from harm: especially for courts that rely upon filers to redact sensitive information from their documents, several high-profile audits have revealed that confidential information like Social Security Numbers are available on public access sites at alarming rates.

c. Making effective use of court resources: especially for courts that rely upon their clerk staff to review and redact every case filing, leveraging technology could free precious court resources to tackle more complex and higher value tasks.

In pursuit of all three overarching goals, the NCSC undertook an auto-redaction Proof of Concept in August 2017. Two vendors agreed to participate, CSI and Extract.

The rest of the report available in the NCSC digital collection discusses the tests and results that were undertaken.

Congratulations to all for this important work.

1 comment:

  1. The challenge of automated redaction involves the definition of what must be redacted. SS, DL, and Acct numbers are among the easiest as they follow conventions. Others like minor children names and addresses don't and pose a greater challenge.

    The best way to solve this is to place the responsibility on the filer, but if the receiving clerk has no authority to reject non-compliant documents (example: Texas), then the labor and expense burden falls on the Clerk.