Web Extra: Automated redaction tools available

Marion County didn't set out to become the first county in Florida to comply with the state's redaction requirement. 

A few years ago, Henry Sal, chief executive officer at Computing Systems Innovations, was working on a project for the county when he overheard a conversation about the problem of personally identifiable information on Marion's Web site. Partnering with Kofax, an information capture vendor, Sal developed the software that the county used to redact its records two years ago.

Since then, the software has been used to redact 65 million records for Miami-Dade County, the largest automated redaction project in the United States to date, the company said.  

A small industry is emerging to help state and local governments rid their Web sites of personal information. Hart InterCivic redacted some 25 million document images put online by Orange County, Fla. Manatron recently acquired Hart's records management unit. And last month, Aptitude Solutions, a division of Fidelity National Information Services, signed a contract with Pulaski County, Ark., to provide automated redaction and other information technology services.

Until recently, local governments seeking to balance disclosure of public information and privacy rights had been "caught between a rock and a hard place," said Jim Rank, a senior manager at Manatron. "The dust is beginning to settle and the clouds are starting to part."

About the Author

John Pulley is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.

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