Thank you for joining us for the second chapter of our AI Redaction series. In our first introductory chapter, we covered the basics, including what redaction is, what type of data needs to be sanitized or redacted, and the most common type of information that needs to be redacted: personal identifiable information (PII).
In this second chapter, we’ll go over the importance of redacting legal documents, what information is typically redacted from this data, and the challenges legal and eDiscovery teams face during the redaction process.
- Why legal redaction is important for protecting privacy, confidentiality, integrity, and more.
- What information should be redacted, including personally identifiable, confidential, proprietary, financial, medical, or sensitive information.
- How AI applications like Veritone Redact can help legal practices overcome the challenges that redacting legal documents can present.
We will also answer common questions on the topic such as: “What does redacted mean in law?”; “Why is redacting legal proceedings information necessary?”; and “What information should be redacted in discovery?” Let’s dive in.
What is the importance of redacting legal documents?
Redaction in its general form is the retroactive editing, blacking out, omission, or removal of certain information from audio-, image-, video-, or text-based data. When it comes to legal redaction, attorneys and eDiscovery teams often need to remove PII and other confidential information for the following reasons:
Protecting personal privacy
Redacting an individual’s PII or other personal information helps to protect their privacy and prevent identity theft while helping legal teams maintain client-attorney privileges and the integrity of the case.
Another type of data that should be redacted is confidential or proprietary information. While PII helps to protect an individual, omitting confidential or proprietary information helps to protect an organization or company, along with its intellectual property and trade secrets.
Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations
Redacting sensitive financial information and information related to ongoing legal proceedings helps to ensure compliance with laws and regulations, such as those related to privacy and financial reporting.
Preserving the integrity of the legal process
By redacting certain information, legal and eDiscovery teams can help ensure that the ongoing legal proceedings are fair and unbiased, as it prevents the release of potentially prejudicial information.
Avoiding legal liability
Beyond protecting clients, witnesses, and legal proceedings, properly redacting legal documents helps protect legal teams and firms. Failing to properly redact sensitive information in legal documents can result in legal liability for the person or organization responsible for the release of that information.
What types of information are typically redacted in legal documents?
Now that we’ve gone over the importance of redacting sensitive information, let’s discuss the types of information that are usually omitted during this process.
Personal identification information
As covered in the last chapter, PII is any piece of data that can either directly or indirectly reveal an individual’s identity. Types of PII can include someone’s:
- Email address
- Telephone number
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s license number
- Alien Registration number
- Medical information
- Financial information
- And more
Just like PII, information about minors, such as their names and addresses, may be redacted to protect their privacy during court proceedings.
Confidential or proprietary information
In order to protect a company’s or organization’s personal information, it’s important to redact confidential and/or proprietary information.
This can include, but is not limited to a company’s:
- Proprietary business processes
- Financial information
- Domain names
- Trade secrets
- Ideas, techniques, inventions (patentable or not)
- Information relating to designs, configurations, documentation, records, etc.
Financial information includes data regarding a person’s or business’ monetary transactions, including:
- Financial transactions
- Financial statements
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Credit ratings
- Payment histories
Information related to ongoing legal proceedings
By redacting any ongoing litigation or settlement negotiations, as well as any information that could potentially be prejudicial to the outcome of a legal case, legal teams can protect the integrity of their cases.
Medical or personal health information
Personal health information or protected health information (PHI) can be considered as PII. This covers:
- Medical history
- Test and lab results
- Insurance information
Sensitive personal information
Information about an individual’s sexual orientation, political views, or religious beliefs may also be redacted from legal documents and other data in order to protect the individual and possibly the outcome of the case.
Challenges of Redacting Legal Documents
With legal redaction, there are three major issues: identifying relevant pieces of sensitive information within legal documents and files, accurately and thoroughly redacting that information to prepare for proceedings, and achieving the balance of transparency and the need to protect sensitive information.
These three issues aside, perhaps one of the most prevalent problems is the time, cost, and effort it takes to go through the redaction process manually. Whether it’s combing through text documents for personal information or redacting PII in video or audio evidence, manual redaction can take legal and eDiscovery teams hours to complete. And, as is the nature of tedious, detail-oriented work, manual redaction could potentially open the door to simple human errors.
With AI-powered tools and services like Veritone Redact and Redaction Managed Service, legal and eDiscovery teams can automate the lengthy redaction process—allowing practices to save valuable money and manhours while expediting their cases with greater efficiency, transparency, and accuracy.
Thanks again for reading up on the second chapter of our AI redaction series. We covered the importance of properly redacting legal documents to protect sensitive information, why this process requires careful review and attention to detail, and the challenges legal and eDiscovery teams can face during the redaction process. In the next chapter, we’ll cover the best practices for redaction and what AI can do to help accelerate and automate these processes.
If you or your legal team are interested in AI-powered automated redaction software or redaction services, one of our Veritone team members can help you learn more about our offerings.