NSA Gives Advice On Editing Documents

The National Security Agency has just released a new guide to government agencies and others on editing electronic documents for release to the public. The agency is pointing out in a new report that there are specific steps in electronic documents that need to be taken to ensure there is not secret or confidential data released, including deletion of data and removal of meta-data information. The agency released the report after a series of embarrassing incidents where data was released through PDF and Microsoft Word documents, where information was redacted using black on black text or obscured using graphics. The agency points out that these methods, which useful in releasing printed documents, are useless when releaseing electronic documents since the original information can still be read. The NSA also pointed out that metadata--information stored in electronic files, such as the history of editing and names of those who have edited the documents--is also as important or more important than deleting the actual data. The paper is posted on the NSA's web site at