Why Flattening Presentations is a Good Idea

Do you publish presentations as Powerpoint or StarOffice files rather than flattening them to PDF, postscript or some other display format? If so, you should consider the possible ramifications of making those source document available, which could include inadvertently making confidential information available publically.

You might accidentally release sales figures, customer information, or in this case, the classified figures for the entire US national intelligence budget over the last 10+ years. Any comprehensive information protection program must take this sort of problem into account to be effective.

In StarOffice, use the "PDF" button to create a PDF version of your document or presentation. It can't get much simpler than that.


Comments:

Of course, PDF isn't immune to confidentiality problems, as the Pentagon's screwup in the release of a document on the killing in Iraq of Italian secret agent Nicola Calipari showed.

I'd like to argue in favor of simple text and images as a way to disseminate information in a controlled and useful way. There's this little standard called HTML, it's catching on, they say. http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdftohtml/

And, if I may rant for a second, my hate of PDF is second only to my hate of Flash. Both are useful technologies when used in very specific cases. Unfortunately, they are also information black holes that I personally avoid like the plague.

I'd say more, but my doctor has advised me not to write more than a paragraph a day on this subject.

http://presentationzen.blogs.com/presentationzen/2005/09/living_large_ta.html http://perlcabal.org/~audreyt/taipei/pugs.xul

Posted by Kai Carver on June 13, 2007 at 12:02 AM EDT #

[Trackback] My Monday entry about the importance of flattening documents to avoid accidentally disclosing confidential or secret information was apparently too simplistic. As Kai points out , PDF documents are also prone to information leakage. The ...

Posted by The Navel of Narcissus on June 13, 2007 at 03:56 AM EDT #

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