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Key Targeted Redaction Strategies for UK Legal Firms for Handling Sensitive Information

This article explores how legal firms in the UK are leveraging targeted redaction to combat rising cyber threats and comply with data protection regulations.
by Umer Ahmed Updated on December 16, 2023

Focusing on targeted redaction has become necessary for legal firms as cyberattacks and data breaches have significantly increased globally, especially in the UK.

According to the UK government, cyber threats continue rising, and no one is impervious to these breaches, including law firms.

The situation is grim, as 65% of UK-based law firms have fallen prey to cyberattacks. Isn't that concerning?

Plus, these breaches lead to sensitive data being leaked out, which can lead to fines, tarnished goodwill, and evidence being declared inadmissible.

However, legal firms can use targeted redaction strategies to mitigate risks and privacy challenges.

By using it, legal firms can protect their data, safeguard integrity, and comply with regulations and governing bodies.

Read on for detailed insights; however, if time is of the essence, we encourage you to opt for our 7-day free trial (no credit card required)

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Importance of Targeted Redaction to Address Sensitive Information

Law firms source and store a considerable amount of data, most of which holds sensitive information that must be kept away from prying eyes.

This is why they must employ targeted redaction strategies to automatically or manually redact confidential information so cybercriminals can't use it for fraudulent activities.

Typically, the type of sensitive data that law firms hold includes:

Case Details

Typically, legal entities have detailed records of ongoing and past cases, which include strategies, dialogue between parties, evidence, and PII information.

Such information is confidential and can be used for malicious purposes. However, legal firms can use PII redaction and other tactics to remove personal data.

Client Data

Client data is the basis of any legal case that consists of social security numbers, names, addresses, and other information. Attorneys must share files and documents that have this information.

These details are of high value, and not masking them can result in severe consequences for any legal firm. This is why It is best to redact PII in legal documents.

Transaction Details

There can be tremendous amounts of transactions and money exchange in legal cases. It can have settlement amounts, fees, and other payments.

We all know cybercriminals are after financial gains. As a result, all parties involved with information handling and sharing must redact confidential transaction data to maintain customer trust.

Besides that, if instances of sensitive data or data irrelevant to the case are left behind due to redaction failures, the evidence may be labeled as inadmissible.

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What is the Governing Body in the UK for Data Protection?

All law firms operating in the United Kingdom must adhere to regional and international (depending on the markets they cover) data protection laws.

As discussed, law firms have a list of sensitive information and must take robust steps to ensure its protection and comply with the regulatory bodies.

That said, among other standards, legal firms in the UK must ensure they are compliant with the following three regulations:

1. UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

GDPR is one of the most resilient data security and privacy protection acts. It was passed and drafted by the European Union (EU).

The purpose of the regulation is to impose obligations upon businesses and establishments that operate within the EU state.

However, after Brexit on the 1st of February 2020, when the UK left the European Union, a new compliance was introduced on the 1st of January 2021 and coined as UK GDPR.

Therefore, legal firms that provide services in the UK and collect their citizens' data must meet UK GDPR requirements.

GDPR addresses the following elements in its compliance acts.

  • Personal data
  • Data Processing
  • Data subject
  • Data controller
  • Data processor

It also allows legal firms to foster lawfulness, accountability, storage, integrity, purpose limitation, and data minimization.

Law firms can ensure data privacy with GDPR redaction and operate in the UK while maintaining integrity.

However, failing to comply with UK GDPR can result in heavy penalties and tarnished goodwill.

2. 2018-Data Protection Act

The 2018 Data Protection Act gives a set of rules on how businesses, organizations, and government use your information.

Legal firms under this act must follow the "Data Protection Principles," which include the following.

  • Transparent, fair, and lawful use of information
  • Purposeful and specified use of information
  • Only necessary use of information
  • Do not keep the information after the purpose is met
  • Secure handling of information

Moreover, civilians have the right to know the activities and usage of their data. Some of the conditions are below.

  • Use of their data
  • They can ask for access to their data
  • Restrict data processing
  • They can ask you to erase their data

Data redaction can allow law firms to comply with the Data Protection Act by using necessary information and redacting restricted information.

3. PECR (The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations)

The current hyper-digital age requires all businesses to work with digital marketing mediums.

Law firms advertising via such channels must comply with "The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations."

The PECR rules apply to the following.

  • Marketing faxes, texts, calls, and emails
  • Keeping customer privacy
  • Secure communication services
  • Cookies and relative technology

Legal firms can incorporate targeted redaction in their security policy. They can use video redaction software or redacted image to safeguard consumer insights.

Overview of Targeted Redaction

Simply put, targeted redaction removes specified privileged information from legal transcripts, videos, audio, and other digital media files.

This is where Redaction software factors in to protect the privacy, security, and legal interests of individuals or entities.

That said, the following are the critical aspects to consider when redacting evidence and other files:

Redacting Privileged Information

As discussed above, legal firms need a robust data protection strategy, so they must include targeted redaction to safeguard the nonpublic information of both individuals and businesses.

Court Records Privacy

Targeted redaction can protect the identities of witnesses, victims, or individuals whose personal details should not be disclosed publicly. It ensures compliance with court rules and privacy laws.

Keeping Document Integrity

Through careful redaction, legal firms can maintain the integrity of digital media files and keep the context. It aims to maintain a file's integrity and coherence while removing only the specified sensitive information.

Mitigating Risk With Redaction Software

Targeted redaction is a crucial risk mitigation strategy, helping to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. By carefully concealing specific details, legal entities reduce the risk of data breaches, identity theft, or other misuse.

Ensuring Legal Compliance

Legal firms can ensure compliance with UK GDPR, PECR, and the Data Protection Act when incorporating targeted redaction in security and privacy policy.

Key Features of a Targeted Redaction Strategy

By crafting targeted redaction strategies, law firms can take a precise approach to redact sensitive information in legal documents, videos, audio, etc.

They can reduce risk, increase precision, and maintain the ethics of any legal organization.

Below are some of the critical features of targeted redaction.

Identifying Certain Data Elements

Targeted redaction involves identifying, isolating, and redacting specific data elements within a document, audio, video, and other digital media files.

It includes PII, medical records, financial documents, and other crucial components.

Selective Redaction

The primary purpose of targeted redaction is its precision. It only redacts the desired parts rather than censoring entire paragraphs, video and audio segments, etc.

Basically, parameters are set, and a reaction tool or software looks for those instances and masks them.

This method allows for the surgical removal of only the identified sensitive information. This ensures that relevant content remains intact.

Preserving Metadata in Documents

Some redaction methods may disturb the document structure, metadata, and other crucial information. However, in targeted redaction, we can preserve the overall integrity of the document.

How Legal Firms Can Perform Targeted Redaction with VIDIZMO Redactor

Considering all the above technicalities and challenges legal firms face, VIDIMZO Redactor is the ideal solution for their targeted redaction needs.

They can ensure compliance with data privacy and maintain their firm's reputation by using industry standards and state-of-the-art redaction technology.

The following are the key features of VIDIZMO Redactor:

  • VIDIZMO supports redacting a wide range of file formats, from text-based documents to audio, videos, and images
  • Legal professionals can redact SSNs, personal information, faces, license plates, and custom objects. Moreover, by using auto-generated transcripts it allows for PII redaction that auto-detects and removes SSNs, names, and much more
  • The OCR feature of redaction allows you to search characters in handwritten files, images, and scanned documents
  • AI-enhanced search allows users to search metadata, spoken words, and tags rapidly
  • To ensure accurate results, besides auto redaction, users can further perfect the file by manually redacting specific information
  • Security is ensured by employing multifactor authentication protocols, role-based access controls, chain of custody reports, and geo-blocks.

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Create and Execute on-point Targeted Redaction Strategies!

In a landscape surrounded by escalating cyber threats, targeted redaction has emerged as an indispensable shield for legal firms in the UK.

By selectively removing specific data elements, targeted redaction enables legal firms to mitigate risks, enhance precision, and fulfill their ethical obligations.

VIDIZMO Redactor offers a proactive defense against unauthorized access, data breaches, and potential legal consequences of privacy lapses.

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FAQs

What is redacted?

Redacted files mean removing sensitive information from the document so that no confidential information is disclosed during a data breach or file sharing.

What does redacting mean?

Redacting means selecting specific details in a file and removing or altering details like PII, health information, and financial transactions.

What is Retracted vs redacted?

"Redacted" refers to obscuring specific information in documents, while "retracted" involves officially withdrawing or taking back previously published statements or information.

How to redact a document in Word?

Microsoft Word has no built-in redaction function, but you can remove sensitive information using the find and replace feature. Find the text, data, or Word you want to redact and replace it with [REDACTED] and click on replace or replace all if you wish.

Why are statements redacted?

One of the primary reasons is to protect an individual's privacy and prevent fraud. It is a standard procedure in financial and legal documents.

Posted by Umer Ahmed

Umer Ahmed is a technical writer who unravels redaction strategies to uphold privacy and data safety. He is your go-to guide for the latest in AI, data privacy, and digital innovation. In case of any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at websales@vidizmo.com

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