Redaction Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Redaction, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Redaction?

The process of removing or masking unwanted or sensitive areas of a document prior to showing it to others.

History and Meaning of Redaction

Redaction is the process of editing or censoring a document, typically by blacking out or hiding sensitive information. The term "redaction" comes from the Latin "redactum," which means "to lead back" or "to reduce." Redaction has been used for centuries to protect classified or confidential information, and it is still widely used today in government, legal, and corporate settings.

In the past, redaction was a manual process that involved using a black marker or ink to cover up sensitive information on paper documents. With the rise of digital documents, redaction has become more complex, and often involves using software to mask information or permanently delete it from a file.

Examples of Redaction

  1. A government agency may redact classified information from a public document before releasing it to the press.
  2. A lawyer may redact confidential client information from a court filing before submitting it to the court.
  3. A company may redact trade secrets or intellectual property from a contract before sharing it with another party.
  4. A medical provider may redact sensitive patient information from a medical record before sharing it with a third-party.

Legal Terms Similar to Redaction

  1. Exemption - a legal provision that allows certain information to be withheld from disclosure.
  2. Privilege - a legal protection that allows certain communications or information to remain confidential.
  3. Confidentiality - an obligation to keep information confidential or private.
  4. Sealing - a process where a court order is used to restrict access to a court document or record.
  5. Sanitization - a process of removing sensitive information from a document or record.