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New Technology Encrypts Sensitive Parts of a Document

Different readers may see different parts of the document, depending on their role

Xerox PARC is working on technology that automatically encrypts confidential information in a document.

This so-called intelligent redaction technology encrypts any information in a document that's been identified as sensitive or confidential and only displays the restricted parts of the document to readers who are authorized to access it. A lead attorney, for example, would see all details of a sensitive case document, but a paralegal would only see the "need-to-know," less sensitive parts of the document.

And the pre-defined classified information gets automatically redacted from all documents it appears in.

Xerox's technology can selectively encrypt only the sensitive sections or paragraphs of a document -- something that has not been possible with file encryption software that encrypts the entire document, according to Xerox.

"The tools available today can't provide sufficient content analysis and security, because it's difficult to determine what is sensitive," says Jessica Staddon, manager of the security research area at PARC. "In a large organization, the level of sensitivity changes depending on the person accessing the document. The sheer numbers of documents to be tracked and sorted further complicates the problem."

Xerox says the intelligent redaction technology also provides audit trail data, in case the document or data is compromised in some way.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
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