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Unredacted Meaning: Exploring the Concept of Unredacted Text

graphic says Unredacted Meaning and has image of a piece paper with the text confidential

“Unredacted” is a term that, when applied to document management and compliance, describes any document that hasn’t been modified to conceal the confidential information inside it. 

This article explores the meaning of the term and reveals scenarios where it’s safe to leave a document unredacted.


Etymology


The term “Unredacted” is a combination of the prefix “un” and the adjective “redacted,” the past participle form of “to redact” — to remove information from a document because you do not want the public to see it.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest known use of the word “unredacted” can be traced back to the 1890s. The theologian William Lang Baxter is credited as being the first person to use the term in writing. It appeared in his 1895 work “Sanctuary and Sacrifice: A Reply to Wellhausen”.


Some example sentences where the term is used include:

  • The document contained six lines of unredacted text in the third paragraph.
  • The redacted version of the report left all the important information hidden.


When Is It Safe to Leave a Document Unredacted?


If a document or file contains information you’d like to keep private, you should redact the relevant words and sentences before sending it out. The only scenarios where it’s safe not to send a heavily redacted document or file are: 


When It Doesn’t Contain Private Information


The most common reasons for redacting sensitive information in documents are:

  • To hide identifying information from the public: Full names, addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers are some of the identifying information you’d want to keep hidden from public view. This practice is commonly used for court documents (e.g., to protect juvenile offenders), though customer data also falls under this umbrella.
  • To protect trade secrets: Companies may want to redact information like source code, and product specifications, lest it ends up in their competitors’ hands.


If the document or file you’re sending doesn’t contain either of the above information, it’s fine to leave it unredacted.


When Sending the Document or File to the Intended Recipient


The only other scenario where it’s fine to send unredacted documents is when sending them to the intended recipient. 

That said, you may still want to temporarily edit out portions that you don’t want anyone else to see. Redaction software like iDox.ai will come in handy by automatically scanning for and redacting any private information it finds in such documents.


Final Thoughts


If your business handles documents that contain sensitive information in the course of its activities, you can’t afford to leave them unredacted. iDox.ai has a Redact tool that lets you redact documents at scale.


Our tool provides one-click searches for private information that should be removed from documents and offers unrivaled protection from data leaks. Get full 7-day access to iDox.ai and start redacting your documents for free right now!

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