Monday, April 26, 2010

Mishandled software redactions: the Blagojevich subpoena request

In previous posts (e.g.,
Disasters with Word's "track changes"
), IPBiz has highlighted downsides to using the "track changes" feature of Word. In the recent matter of attorneys for former governor Rod Blagojevich's defense team asking on 22 April 2010 for a subpoena of President Obama, one sees the consequences of not handling redactions properly.

From the capitolfaxblog, Blagojevich hurls allegations at Obama in bid to force testimony :

Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys filed a motion today to subpoena President Obama to testify at the former governor’s trial…

“President Obama has direct knowledge to allegations made in the indictment. In addition, President Obama’s public statements contradict other witness statements, specifically those made by labor union official and Senate Candidate B,” the motion said.

The motion is here. Several parts are redacted, but you can easily copy and paste the entire motion into a text file and view all the redacted material. Oops on somebody’s part.

See also
Redactions Revealed: The Six Secrets You Need to Know From the Obama Subpoena Request

***Separately, in terms of other blunders, from a CBS Nightly News piece done around 19 April 2010:

Nearly every digital copier built since 2002 contains a hard drive - like the one on your personal computer - storing an image of every document copied, scanned, or emailed by the machine.

In the process, it's turned an office staple into a digital time-bomb packed with highly-personal or sensitive data.

If you're in the identity theft business it seems this would be a pot of gold.

"The type of information we see on these machines with the social security numbers, birth certificates, bank records, income tax forms," John Juntunen said, "that information would be very valuable."

There was a New Jersey connection:

This past February, CBS News went with Juntunen to a warehouse in New Jersey, one of 25 across the country, to see how hard it would be to buy a used copier loaded with documents. It turns out ... it's pretty easy.

Most people don't know about the problem:

Ed McLaughlin is President of Sharp Imaging, the digital copier company.

"Has the industry failed, in your mind, to inform the general public of the potential risks involved with a copier?" Keteyian asked.

"Yes, in general, the industry has failed," McLaughlin said.

In 2008, Sharp commissioned a survey on copier security that found 60 percent of Americans "don't know" that copiers store images on a hard drive. Sharp tried to warn consumers about the simple act of copying.

"It's falling on deaf ears," McLaughlin said. "Or people don't feel it's important, or 'we'll take care of it later.'"


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