How to Redact Confidential Information for NYS Supreme Court

How to Redact Confidential Information on Papers Submitted to the NYS Supreme Court

It’s easy to redact text the wrong way!  Think you know how to do it properly?  See below.

Confidential personal information must now be omitted or redacted from all papers submitted to the Supreme Court or County Court, whether submitted on paper or e-filed. (PART 202. Uniform Civil Rules For The Supreme Court And The County Court – Section 202.5 Papers filed in court)

What Is Confidential Personal Information and What Must Be Redacted?

§202.5(e)(1) states confidential personal information (“CPI”) means:

  1. The taxpayer identification number of an individual or an entity, including a social security number, an employer identification number, and an individual taxpayer identification number, except the last four digits thereof;
  2. The date of an individual’s birth, except the year thereof;
  3. The full name of an individual known to be a minor, except the minor’s initials; and
  4. A financial account number, including a credit and/or debit card number, a bank account number, an investment account number, and/ or an insurance account number, except the last four digits or letters thereof.

Where Confidential Personal Information Is Likely to Be Found

Confidential personal information submitted to the court is most likely to be attached as an exhibit to a motion in:

  • Bill of Particulars
  • Medical records
  • Employment records and
  • Authorizations

How Not to Redact Information From a PDF

If you select text in a PDF and black it out using the highlight tool, you have not redacted any information. All that has happened is that you can’t see it anymore because you made the white space the same black color as the text but the information is still there and can easily be seen. Just copy the blacked-out text and paste it anywhere and you’ll see it just fine.

This is a mistake that has been made by employees at the US government and large corporations, so never use the highlight tool for redaction unless you follow the directions below.

This video shows how the CIA WOMAP program was leaked with a redacted document. This is what happens when you don’t redact information properly. See how secret WOMAP was supposed to be.

How To Safely Redact Information From a PDF Document

  1. Using the highlight tool to black out text or images: print the PDF on paper and scan the paper document again.
  2. Using the highlight tool to black out text or images: print the PDF to a PDF. Note that you must print the PDF, not save it as another file with a different name.  When printing, choose a PDF print driver instead of the print driver for your paper laser printer.
  3. Use the redaction tool in your PDF software (see the links below).

How to Properly Redact PDF files using Adobe

How to Properly Redact PDF files using Foxit

How to Determine if You Properly Redacted Information in a PDF

  1. Highlight the redacted text with your mouse cursor and copy and paste it into Word, an email, or any other document.
  2. If you see the text, it was not redacted properly.

Don’t forget when e-filing to the New York State Supreme Court, you must e-file a PDF/A file.

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Attorney Franckel is a well-known personal injury lawyer, Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, and a former Member Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He has an Avvo Top 10  Rating, Avvo Client’s Choice Award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor Award, Multi-Million Dollar Trial Lawyers Award, and other awards. See Mr. Franckel’s bio for areas of expertise.