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January 25, 2006

Editing Documents at the NSA

The National Security Agency, the same one ordered by President Bush to institute of program of domestic wiretaps without a court order, has issued a document that tells agency members how to sanitize documents in Microsoft Word before converting them to PDF.  The problems this address include giving away the information that was intended to remain secret.

The document informs that placing a graphic over another graphic doesn't get rid of the first graphic, or that black boxes over text can be removed to reveal the hidden text.  It works for print, but doesn't work for electronic.

Metadata is another issue.  Word has this habit of keeping editing history and other metadata such as authorship as part of the document.  Some of this information may conflict with statements in the content which puts the credibility of the document at risk.  Whoops.

The story is here, and the memo is here.

January 25, 2006 | Permalink

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