Wednesday Dec 09, 2009

TSA, PDF and the Open Gov't Directive

There has been a firestorm today over the TSA posting a document publicly that had procedures and information that some consider harmful to keeping the public safe when traveling. It is debatable how harmful this action will be. Unless you are in the media of course. But they are missing the other half of the story.

This document had parts of it redacted. Blocked out. So the user thought. Little did they know what was hidden could be easily undone by simply selecting, cutting and pasting.

Technology led the user to believe that the sensitive parts of the document were secure. When in reality they were not.

The folks at the TSA will be fried over this. But what about the applications used to create, read and open the document. If you create a document format who is responsible for following the rules when allowing an user to open it. This seems to be a huge hole that will be ignored.

The Open Government Directive is rushing to get government information published externally within a certain timeframe. In light of the TSA firestorm additional guidelines should be published with regards to what can and cannot be shared. Otherwise we will encounter even more events like this.

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