I Thought We Were Past This

I saw a link in the ABA Journal Law News Now this morning that simply floored me.

The Journal article states:

A federal judge’s opinion in Apple’s patent infringement suit against Samsung Electronics was formatted in a way that exposed redacted information.

The mistaken revelation in the opinion issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh discussed Apple studies showing its customers are unlikely to switch to Samsung’s Android devices, Reuters reports. The redacted portions also included some details on Apple’s licensing deals with Nokia and IBM.

iPad and Galaxy TabThe Reuters article includes additional details about the “redacted” information. According to the news stories, it appears that the information that was supposed to have been redacted did not contain any information that was truly secret.

Whether the information should have been redacted is an interesting question. However, it is not the issue that interests me. My interest is with the inability of people to properly use their software.

In 2009, I wrote about a redaction issue involving Facebook and ConnectU. What I said then applies equally now:

The reality is that it is not too much to ask for basic technical competence from people who are publishing allegedly redacted documents. It’s one thing to not have a full understanding of all of your computer’s programs. However, if someone is going to release allegedly redacted documents on the internet, it is not unreasonable to have that person actually ensure that the documents are redacted properly. The thing that makes this worse is that the document could have been redacted in Acrobat easily and, if done with the redaction tool, none of the confidential information would remain in the document.

The software to properly redact information is readily available and easy to use. To have an error of this type is simply inexcusable.