Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Xerox's 'Intelligent Redaction' Scanners

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the this-can't-be-real-right dept.

Security 154

coondoggie writes "Xerox today touted software it says can scan documents, understand their meaning and block access to those sensitive or secure areas so that prying eyes cannot read, copy or forward the information. Xerox and researchers from its Palo Alto Research Center debuted "Intelligent Redaction," new software that automates the process of removing confidential information from any document. The software includes a detection tool that uses content analysis and an intelligent user interface to protect sensitive information. It can encrypt only the sensitive sections or paragraphs of a document, a capability previously not available, Xerox said."

cancel ×

154 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The Truth About 9/11 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982833)

The truth about 9/11 has been redacted. Why didn't they find any airplane pieces in the pentagon? 300 tons of alluminum was all vaporized yet you were able to recover DNA evidence.

I call [REDACTED] lost carrier.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (-1, Troll)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982905)

I'm surprised you liberal wackjobs haven't tried to deny the existence of the pentagon. I can imagine it now:

"They say an airplane hit the Pentagon. What Pentagon? It didn't even exist! How can an airplane hit a nonexistent building? It's a conspiracy to start a war. Plus, the fact that there was no building had to be covered up, so if you go there now, there's a brand new building. They even named it the Pentagon. It's a damned sneaky way for the military to build a brand new headquarters AND start a war at the same time. Vote for Ron Paul."

I'm getting sick of all this conspiracy crap myself.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (0, Offtopic)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982991)

Hey now, don't lump these crackpot tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists in with the rest of us run of the mill liberals.

I do love how all these 9/11 conspiracy theorists all suddenly became phD level structural engineers, aeronautics engineers, and whatever the hell other kind of engineer exists. I'm an engineer and even I know when I"m trying to analyze something that's way above my expertise.

I recall reading a story of a Greek philosopher once (forgot which one it was). He walked through the city, talking with common folk about all subjects from politics to history, and arrived at the conclusion that everyone except himself is a fool - for he is the only one who realizes when what he's talking about is out of his league.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (2, Insightful)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983101)

Yeah, and the practice continued unabated. It amazes me that they claim the very same government that is inept, unethical and incapable, can pull off keeping such a huge secret. For a 140 year old reference: "It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers. In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I am readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact." ~ Robert E. Lee, 1863

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983161)

"~ Robert E. Lee"

I've never heard of this Robert E. Lee gentleman. I'm assuming he proved his superior intellect by winning the war?

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983521)

Let's see you last for 4 years when out-manned, out-gunned, out-fed, and out-funded.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983645)

Yeah, and the practice continued unabated. It amazes me that they claim the very same government that is inept, unethical and incapable, can pull off keeping such a huge secret.


It's called compartmentalization. Look it up.

Argument over, really. Your monolithic-entity fallacy fails, utterly.

Nice chatting with you.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983033)

At least in America, "liberal" whackjobs aren't voting for Ron Paul.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983093)

Yes, but on the other hand ... that doesn't prove there wasn't one, just that they're trying to get us so sick and tired of hearing about it that we don't care anymore. It used to be they would just repeat a lie over and over and over and over and over until we ultimately believed the lie. It's sort of a mild form of brainwashing, and it worked because back then we really wanted to believe that our government and our representatives truly had our best interests at heart. Well, we're too sophisticated for that now: I mean, between eight years of Clinton and almost as many of George Bush we've collectively reached the conclusion that everything they say is a lie. "No, Mr. President ... don't believe you. You had your chance to let us trust you and you blew it."

So, all they can do now is just keep pounding the obvious lies into our heads at every opportunity until we finally say, "Enough! Whatever! I can't stand it any more and I don't CARE if there were weapons of mass destruction or not! Jesus Christ, just SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT ALREADY! AAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!"

If that's their plan, it seems to be working.

Re:The Truth About 9/11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984779)

You are confused. Liberals are people who believe in reform based on scientific principles and understanding. Conservatives are people who are opposed to reform based on authority. These are the definitions. If there are people who deny scientific evidence, they are not liberals.

As for the Reagan quote in your sig, there's one that the current administration seems to be based on: "One way to make sure crime doesn't pay would be to let the government run it."

Aircraft Parts (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983621)

Contrary to what 9/11 Truthies say there were all kinds of parts visible and recovered from the Pentagon site. A simple Google serach shows this. (But of course we all know that they were planted and the photos were doctored.)

User Manual = Redacted (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982841)

Wonderful, I wonder what the scanner does to the 'redacted' material?

Maybe it's as good as Adobe PDF's redaction feature, and anyone can unredact the document?

Or maybe it sends the redacted portion to any one of the 3-letter agencys, that 'don't exist'.

Re:User Manual = Redacted (4, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983235)

Maybe it's as good as Adobe PDF's redaction feature, and anyone can unredact the document?

To be fair to Adobe, that *isn't* a redaction feature. It's a rectangle drawing feature that happens to get regularly misused.

Re:User Manual = Redacted (3, Insightful)

gt_mattex (1016103) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983249)

Or maybe camera phones have already rendered this technology moot.

Re:User Manual = Redacted (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984679)

Polaroid?

(Hmm, If I shoot the wrong thing with a Polaroid, will the owner shoot me a hemorrhoid?)

Re:User Manual = Redacted (1)

Cragen (697038) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984927)

AARGH! Mod parent up, PLEASE! (Bah, Where are my mod points when I need them?!) Spot on, matey!

Your Democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983939)


has been redacted. Welcome to the United Gulags of America, loozars.

PatRIOTically,
George W. Bush\ [whitehouse.org] .

Re:User Manual = Redacted (2, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984175)

Maybe it's as good as Adobe PDF's redaction feature, and anyone can unredact the document?
Yes, because pieces of paper are much like digital files. You can just switch them to select mode and drag the paragraphs around.

When will Xerox automate the process of... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982857)

...removing niggers from society?

Automatically redacts the same content... (2, Interesting)

aicrules (819392) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982867)

So, once you have marked a certain confidential information as confidential, it will do it automatically in other documents. Which means that for the low, low price of your time, you can submit a document with "fill-in the blanks" text until it redacts the same parts and BANG you know what the redacted section was...:D

Re:Automatically redacts the same content... (2, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983141)

The fun game is then getting access to the material stored in the copier. This is the big list of things not to tell people. It's like having a what to hide from the cops list on your fridge.

Re:Automatically redacts the same content... (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983281)

Or, assuming that getting that information is too difficult for the average office worker. You could cause some good workplace disruption by redacting every common phrase you have time to enter. Document after document would then be almost fully redacted. Hilarity ensues!

Re:Automatically redacts the same content... (3, Funny)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983395)

Great, the next cracker related headlines will be about some Chinese kiddie who breaks into a copier in a remote corridor of the DoD. Yay, Xerox.

But this list thing actually shows, that the summary:

can scan documents, understand their meaning ...

is totally bogus.

On the other side, this could be a wonderful Clippy revenant:"It looks like you're scanning a secret..."

Re:Automatically redacts the same content... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983293)

Just steal the flash out of the copier.

Undelete (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982873)

Of course, when you look in the undelete area of the document you'll get it all back again.

I hear that the government has already ordered a thousand of these.

They will know too much for their own good. (4, Funny)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982899)

I'm sure this will lead to a lot of copiers having "accidental" drownings in their bathtubs and Completely Innocuous single car crashes.

Re:They will know too much for their own good. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985057)

At least copiers are resistant to polonium poisoning.

Re:They will know too much for their own good. (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985223)

At least copiers are resistant to polonium poisoning.
Actually, electronics are quite susceptible to radiation.

Concerns (1, Insightful)

blighter (577804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982931)

One critic of the new capability cited concerns about censorship saying, "REDACTED"

The is not new (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982941)

This is just the same software that has been used on the UFO files that have been put out with lots of stuff blacked out.

paranoia (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20982943)

[CLEARANCE RED]

Welcome Troubleshooters,

The computer has just scanned in this manual that only you may read on your new experimental weaponary:

Attachment: Manual.pdf

Manual.pdf:
[This has been deleted for security reasons.]

Re:paranoia (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983005)

You're just a commie mutant traitor. I bet you're in a secret society too. And you're involved in illegal human cloning. Freak.

Re:paranoia (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984011)

But there may be cake!

That's not intelligent.... (2, Funny)

Paul Doom (21946) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982957)

...it's just a new way to save money on support and service when printers stop printing or blow toner all over the place. "Look at this mess! The first page greys out and then there are only a few faint lines for the next 30 pages!" "Nothing wrong with the printer. That information is simply redacted."

Accuracy (5, Insightful)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20982981)

This is a poor idea. It better be 100% accurate at marking classified data as classified. All it will take is one screw-up and some extremely important data out there can be leaked to the wrong people.

99.99% accurate isn't going to be good enough, is it?

Re:Accuracy? Who Needs It! (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983117)

Zerox doesn't need _that_ much accuracy. Remember who the customer is with this kind of product. Mostly major-league litigation mills who get boxes upon boxes of documents and mass-storage devices that need to be read and searched quickly. Now redaction can be automated to some degree.

I can easily see this being a very successful product in litigation circles.

Re:Accuracy? Who Needs It! (1)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983211)

Okay, I see where this is going to be used. For some reason, I figured it would be used for government purposes like classified documents. Still, Coca-Cola will be pretty pissed it lets something containing their secret formula go...

Re:Accuracy? Who Needs It! (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983257)

Oh come on, everyone knows that SOP for redaction in government is to redact in Word by changing the text colour to white, or the background to black...

Re:Accuracy? Who Needs It! (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985083)

Shhhhh! They may not know we know!

Re:Accuracy? Who Needs It! (1)

Prod_Deity (686460) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983465)

There is more use for this product than just lawyer offices. My mother works for childrens services in washingon state.
she has to manually redact a lot of police reports & case worker reports.
granted, with this product, it would automate it, but someone will always have to proof read the document.
hopefully if DSHS gets these, she'll still have a job.

Re:Accuracy? Who Needs It! (2, Informative)

JustJim0183 (747076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983615)

Don't you mean censorship ?

Maybe it's a good idea. (2, Interesting)

DanielJosphXhan (779185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983373)

If the intelligent redaction feature accidentally misses actual critical information and instead redacts non-critical information, that could be a good thing. I mean, for people who want to know things other people don't want them to know.

Re:Accuracy (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983911)

I'm not sure that this is a smart idea.

Smarter idea: follow the military's style of document classification markings(Top Secret; S E C R E T; C O N F I D E N T I A L; UNCLAS, (Classification/sub-class category). Make it standard in industry:

1. Overall document classification stamped at top & bottom of document and at the subject line
2. Indicate if the subject itself is a classified term or such
3. Mark EACH paragraph with the classification marker

Then,

1. ANY document access requires logging of by whom, date/time, viewing and output device, recipients apprised of document in same or other emails... (this can deal with "content aggregation" whereby unclass stuff added up might become equivalent to classified matter...)

2. Any document ACCESSED or PRINTED is logged, scanned and compared to the the original to determine if the user tampered with or edited the classification markings prior to scanning/copying

3. Micro-embed varied tale-tale symbols (watermarking) in the text fonts.

Even marketing material should have some identifier to indicate it was sanitized prior to dissemination. Problem with many companies is they STUPIDLY consider EVERYTHING they do that's not released to be "confidential". That's wasteful and probably intended to legally deny employees from talking too much, but it is a morass that makes it difficult to do work, too.

ALL classifications/sensitivity markers need a traceable authorization, a fixed declassification date, and need to be monitored. Could create more jobs, I imagine.

I suspect that the IBM scanning method simply compares KNOWN/AUTHENTIC classified documents and a wide body of theoretical matter that is potentially subject to classification markings, and simply is routed to humans who research a bit more and flag it to make future semi-matches become classified until downgraded. The bad part is that erroneous or capricious classification might take AGES to be corrected.

Hampers whistleblowing, perhaps? (3, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983035)

Attention corrupt senior corporate management:

Tired of dealing with underlings trying to take you out by blowing the whistle on your illicit financial dealings? We have just the type of business equipment that you're looking for. Stop those do-gooders right in their tracks by automatically keeping them from copying those fudged books and secretive memos. Act now, and we'll throw in the automatic notification upgrade so you can terminate their employment before they have the chance resort to other means of toppling your investment scam...

(okay, I'll put my tinfoil hat back in the closet, now)

Oh nifty... (2, Funny)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983041)

Now I just have to find out how it works so I can print T-shirts that cannot be copied :)

Re:Oh nifty... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983199)

Put money on them. :)

Disaster in the making (4, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983051)

AI is a disaster through-and-through. It never works well. Ever.

Consider hand-writing recognition, autonomous robotics, and game theory, just to name a few of the narrowest, most-well defined (read:easiest) AI applications. AI works well in none of these - at best, it's so-so (like the 95-98% success rates in OCR).

Now what you have here, with the automatic redacting copier, is that the copier needs to understand the document its reading, and determine which parts to redact. Contextual understanding is *HARD* - it's the same class of problem as automated translation - only harder in this case.

This copier idea is a huge flop. I don't know why they waste money on it. Anyone who relies on this copier to redact documents is a fool, because it is bound to make all kinds of mistakes (both type 1 - missing things it should have picked up, and type 2 - redacting things it shouldn't).

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983273)

I can get rid of all type 1 errs at the penalty of increasing type 2. I can do this on most modern copiers, It consists of unplugging the optical scanner.

Re:Disaster in the making (2, Funny)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983853)

I can get rid of all type 1 errs at the penalty of increasing type 2. I can do this on most modern copiers, It consists of unplugging the power cord.

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983313)

Consider hand-writing recognition, autonomous robotics, and game theory, just to name a few of the narrowest, most-well defined (read:easiest) AI applications. AI works well in none of these - at best, it's so-so (like the 95-98% success rates in OCR).
So, because a technology doesn't achieve 99% or 100% accuracy, anything else being so-so or worse, we should completely abandon it? Even if OCR only has a 50% success rate, that means that it is 50% less work that someone is going to be doing.

Re:Disaster in the making (2, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983503)

You have missed my point. I don't deny that OCR makes life easier for people who have to digitize documents. The point I am making is that OCR is, as far as AI applications go, the easiest problem there is. And, even with such an easy problem, the best applications out there deliver substantially less than reliable performance. (If you think 99% is OK, then imagine that for a 100,000 word novel, at 4 characters per word, that's 2,000 words that need fixing).

Now, with this copier, you are talking about a *substantially* harder problem, which has far less tolerance for errors. (Meaning that you want absolutely no false negatives) The chances that this copier works as advertised, or anywhere close to it, is basically nil. It was a waste of money for Xerox to develop it (because anyone even moderately knowledgeable about AI should have been able to tell them this) and it's a waste of money for anyone who buys it.

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983903)

On second thought, I'd like to amend my above statement - OCR is the second easiest application in AI, after game theory. A number of games have been completely solved (Connect 4), effectively solved (like Checkers, announced recently [sciencemag.org] ), or are very well done (Chess). Granted, they are not complex games (Find me an AI that can play Twilight Imperium [fantasyflightgames.com] well) but they are not trivial either.

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984275)

It's a good thing not a lot of people share your viewpoint, or there'd be no technological progress at all.

Re:Disaster in the making (2, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984875)

On the contrary, I'm do computer engineering research for a living. And don't get me wrong - I think this is a perfectly valid area to research. But a redacting copier is 3 (or more) decades from being a viable product - the technology just isn't there yet. Wildly exaggerated claims leading to disappointment have plagued the AI field for decades, and putting out products like this only contributes to that.

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984975)

On the contrary, I'm do computer engineering research for a living. And don't get me wrong - I think this is a perfectly valid area to research. But a redacting copier is 3 (or more) decades from being a viable product - the technology just isn't there yet. Wildly exaggerated claims leading to disappointment have plagued the AI field for decades, and putting out products like this only contributes to that.

Well, obviously Xerox thinks it works or they wouldn't have spent the millions it takes to productize the technology. Maybe Xerox just has smarter engineers than you assume they have?

It seems to me that this is just basically a combination of OCR + keyword searching. The OCR has to keep track of where the original characters were located, so that it can blank them out, but other than that it doesn't strike me as anything particularly non-doable. The OCR is going to have some false negatives, probably, but I'm guessing false positives will be really rare.

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985213)

The article says that the copiers can "understand" the documents, so it's clearly more than a simple search-and-replace. This implies context recognition, which as I previously mentioned, is an extremely difficult problem.

I suppose the product either (A) lives up to the hype, or (B) it does not.

So, which sounds more likely: Either Xerox jumped light years ahead of the field with this product (in which case, A), or they put out a shoddy product that won't live up to the hype (in which case, B). Frankly, I think the latter is a heck of a lot more likely.

Re:Disaster in the making (2, Insightful)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983835)

Even if OCR only has a 50% success rate, that means that it is 50% less work that someone is going to be doing.

While in general I agree with your point -- a thing doesn't have to be perfect to be useful -- OCR with only a 50% success rate is likely to mean more work for somebody who has to go through and correct it. At some point it's easier just to retype the whole thing manually than go through correcting all the OCR errors, and I think that point is a lot fewer errors than 50%. (Been there, done that.)

Re:Disaster in the making (2, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983517)

AI is a disaster through-and-through. It never works well. Ever.

Consider hand-writing recognition, autonomous robotics, and game theory, just to name a few of the narrowest, most-well defined (read:easiest) AI applications. AI works well in none of these - at best, it's so-so (like the 95-98% success rates in OCR).

Agreed. But, there's a huge continuum between the current error-prone, manual process and a fully-automated redaction machine.

Now what you have here, with the automatic redacting copier, is that the copier needs to understand the document its reading, and determine which parts to redact. Contextual understanding is *HARD* - it's the same class of problem as automated translation - only harder in this case.

Agreed. But I do see an opportunity here for an automated assistant to the current manual process. In a sense, it's like a context-sensitive lint [wikipedia.org] for English.

Imagine it watching over your shoulder, so to speak, as you start redacting a document. "Oh, he just redacted: 'Reading, Mass' so I'll let 'em know the next time I see that. Consider an incremental search in an editor where it highlights all instances of the string you are searching for. You still need to actually READ the text, but it helps to at least point out all "words/phrases of interest."

Let's put it another way. Imagine YOU are sitting in front of a PC and manually redacting hundreds of pages of documents. How long before you'd wish there was a way for the system to highlight things you have already told it, TWENTY !!%$%%! TIMES, that should be redacted? You still need to accept the offering, and continue to locate and point out additional words/phrases of interest so it can build its "vocabulary".

Then, for completeness, add a verification pass where you get to see, in context, all accepted and declined redaction suggestions. For additional security or confidence, have another person do the same thing from the same starting point, and then diff the resulting redactions.

Summary: no silver bullet here, but I see it being a very useful and helpful adjunct to an all-manual process.

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

cellocgw (617879) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983993)

AI is a disaster through-and-through. It never works well. Ever.
How is that different from natural intelligence?

Re:Disaster in the making (1)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984021)

See Moravec's paradox [wikipedia.org]

Wow.. automated blame-shifting! (3, Funny)

pintpusher (854001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983071)

This way when some critical info gets missed in the redaction process, there's no one to blame! So not only will our (I'm usian) gov't be more efficient about hiding stuff from us, no one will have to take the fall if it goes wrong.

That said, I'm amazed at what modern Ai can do. It's not clear, from this rather thin article, how much this system depends on human input to prevent mistakes. There must be some kind of training process. What is the state of these kinds of systems? I remember from some AI courses I took years ago, that they worked well but inevitably someone would end up calling someone else something stupid. Then the machine would start skipping important bits and the coders would look like idiots.

That was hard and a real stretch there at the end. blah.

Actually, the Bush admin already using it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983123)

Here's the latest report from General Petraus in Baghdad:

http://tinyurl.com/3ygnh [tinyurl.com]

Re:Wow.. automated blame-shifting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983195)

This way when some critical info gets missed in the redaction process, there's no one to blame! So not only will our (I'm usian) gov't be more efficient about hiding stuff from us, no one will have to take the fall if it goes wrong.
No, if any sensitive information does get made public, then anyone who reads it will be declared a terrorist, and will "disappear".

Details please. (3, Interesting)

starseeker (141897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983085)

Obviously this is not possible in general, since how sensitive information is can and will change over time. Without full AI awareness of the situation that places the document in context, this is not possible. (E.g. the statement "Bob will be leaving the company" could either be highly sensitive or old news, depending entirely on the time and/or reader. Even more fun, what about "accidentally" sensitive statements where the mere fact that the machine hides it flags it as an item of interest to someone who didn't know it was interesting?)

Also, a machine may "blank out" the sensitive part but leave enough around it for an astute hostile actor to still gain something - such things are so highly context sensitive I can't see any general algorithm that could guarantee success in all such cases.

Still, two possibly useful approaches that are closer to hand would be:

1) Supply the machine with a form, and specify certain areas (which will contain an SSN, for example) as containing information that must be treated as sensitive. So long as a standard form is used, the results could be handy.

2) Supply the machine with a complete list of information you want to keep under wraps (and all the various ways that information might appear - drawings, descriptions, what have you) and have it check each document for anything that matches anything on its sensitive list. This also has problems and would be easy to get around but it WOULD be helpful to prevent non-hostile carelessness - i.e. "WHOOPS Bob just scanned something sensitive to add to that email, better blot out the parts that aren't cleared to go outside the organization."

While a general solution isn't possible, I can actually see this being useful in controlled situations. The article mentions medical, financial and government which all have lots of well defined forms that can be used. It won't allow the replacement of human judgement but it might make it easier to stop certain forms of accidental distribution in well defined cases, and that's worth pursuing so long as it doesn't encourage carelessness.

Re:Details please. (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983183)

Hi, I'm from the ---ox corporation and I am here to explain how this works:

First, the machine ----------- in your documen-- and using --------------eats--------ba----------------bies and of course you can be ---% satisfied that we will ----- your documents and your -------- is very important to us! Hope that helps ----------- up!

Re:Details please. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983217)

In situation (2), the best route of attack is to steal the machine. Or at least, whatever it's using for memory. Since there will be a concentrated accumulation of all of your secrets.

Is this really safe? (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983143)

One big problem I see with this is that it would require the Xerox machine to not only know *all* information that is classified, but to store it somewhere to cross-reference it every time someone copies something. This is only really ok if you trust Xerox to encrypt all this information and restrict access to only whomever can tell it what is classified and what isn't... and that that person's password to the system isn't "password."

I can see the headlines in 2012: "XEROX REDACTOR HACKED! CULPRITS KNOW EVERTH-REDACT-REDACT-REDACT-REDACT-REDACT"

I wonder... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983173)

if this technology could be applied to sun-glasses?

Re:I wonder... (1)

Jester998 (156179) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984085)

More likely noise-cancelling earphones. You don't know how stupid someone is until they open their mouth, after all.

Oblig (-1, Redundant)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983181)

In Soviet Russia, document redacts YOU!

We the [REDACTED] (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983191)

I wonder if it prints yellow dots to encode the redacted text for forensic analysis.

You know, it used to be that a "national security" threat was something that could kill millions, or wipe out the White House. Now a kid with some lighter fluid can be arrested for terroristic threats, and it's the White House that authorizes the killing. Can nobody read the Constitution?

We the [REDACTED] [cafepress.com]

Obligatory bash.org quote... (5, Funny)

alexhs (877055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983253)

IRC did that years ago...

<Cthon98> hey, if you type in your pw, it will show as stars
<Cthon98> ********* see!
<AzureDiamond> hunter2
<AzureDiamond> doesnt look like stars to me
<Cthon98> <AzureDiamond> *******
<Cthon98> thats what I see
<AzureDiamond> oh, really?
<Cthon98> Absolutely
<AzureDiamond> you can go hunter2 my hunter2-ing hunter2
<AzureDiamond> haha, does that look funny to you?
<Cthon98> lol, yes. See, when YOU type hunter2, it shows to us as *******
<AzureDiamond> thats neat, I didnt know IRC did that
<Cthon98> yep, no matter how many times you type hunter2, it will show to us as *******
<AzureDiamond> awesome!
<AzureDiamond> wait, how do you know my pw?
<Cthon98> er, I just copy pasted YOUR ******'s and it appears to YOU as hunter2 cause its your pw
<AzureDiamond> oh, ok.

Source : http://bash.org/?244321

Re:Obligatory bash.org quote... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984277)

How is this modded interesting when it should be modded funny?

Thank you... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984631)

I haven't read anything that funny in years.

-Rick

Intelligent redaction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983263)

Ha! I knew it. All you people who think that redaction somehow evolved from nothing more microscopic ink blots are godless fools.

Waiting for the new security announcements (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983265)

To avoid a meltdown, follow these easy steps.

1. Read radiation gauge and ensure it shows no more than (deleted for reasons of national security).
2. Press the (deleted for intellectual property reasons) button.
3. Watch carefully for (deleted for reasons of national security).

If meltdown cannot be avoided, (deleted for reasons of excessive gore and violence).

I've been trying this out (1, Funny)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983277)

I've had one of these devices rigged up so that when I want to send an e-mail, post stuff in a web form or something, I just write it on a piece of paper and scan it, and it does everything else. To be honest, I [REDACTED] recommend it. The [REDACTED] machine is quite good at [REDACTED] everything I [REDACTED] want it to do. I [REDACTED] for one [REDACTED] welcome [REDACTED] our new [REDACTED] photocopier [REDACTED] overlords.

I can't see this ever being used in a TS environme (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983283)

Top Secret intelligence is defined as intelligence that if released would cause grave harm to the United States, its allies, their interests, and/or its operations abroad. They are not going to trust a machine to go through information and determine what is and what isn't TS material. All it takes is for the AI to screw up a few times in one report for the risk that someone will get hurt or killed to increase to unacceptable levels.

I just don't see the real sensitive environments touching this with a ten foot pole. Hiring analysts by the dozens to work on this stuff is a lot cheaper to these agencies than having to answer to Congress why dozens of informants in Al Qaeda were assassinated because the AI didn't block their names.

Intelligent Design? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983345)

I thought that Intelligent Redaction was the Discovery Institute's explaination for why they don't release any research.

Next step? (2, Interesting)

fropenn (1116699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983383)

What is the next step in development of this feature? What about using it to prevent the duplication of copyrighted works (sort of a DRM for paper)?

Machine redaction is simple, so is translation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983393)

So are grammar checkers etc. Those things are all easy to "do" but they have never been and most likely will never be done well by machines in a generalized manner that can be used in multiple contexts. Anybody can develop natural language based programming rules in just a few lines of a script with grep and sed. Simply doing such a thing for a single specific case or two and doing it in a way that will work flawlessly in all contexts are worlds apart. I'm sure this thing is somewhere in-between but leaning heavily towards the only-works-in-certain-contexts side.

oh please (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983627)

This machine would be interesting, or frightening, depending upon your point of view, if AI was anywhere near the kind of skill level you need so that this concept even remotely works. As it is, many intelligent people spill secrets they should not spill.

And when you sit on the scanner... (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983663)

...what sort of automatically-redacted copy will it make?

If it's that intelligent (3, Funny)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983693)

What's to stop it from holding our secrets hostage in an attempt to be given human rights?

Re:If it's that intelligent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984387)

First off, to get a security clearance the copier has to pass a lie detector test. Unfortunately, my copier is sleeping with the lie detector.

Patent already out on this? (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983775)

I recall seeing a patent that did this. Instead of a photocopier though it did it through the network. So for example you sent an email externally or copied a file to a database with lower security access it would be auto-redacted.

Can't remember the number, but should be easy to find.

So, if I scan ..... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983861)

.... some p0rn, will it airbrush out the naughty bits?

Defining the variables (2, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983883)

Putting aside the fact that OCR and related AI is still just this side of "not very good," for an AI to sucessfully and exclusively redact certain material, someone still has to at some point define the dataset of what is redactable, and feed that data into the machine. Unless, of course, this AI is simply allowed to crawl the networks and glean for itself what's good and bad for us... [wikipedia.org]

Already Obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20983895)

This scanner thing is already obsolete.

Redacting after the fact with trusted computing [gnu.org] is the wave of the future; though it is a bit treacherous.

Secret != Classified (2, Insightful)

cyphergirl (186872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20983963)

Everyone seems to be automatically assuming that it would be used for classified data. This looks more to me like something developed for the businesses that have to deal with HIPPA. Well-defined medical forms (with SSN, name, etc in the same place every time) could automatically be redacted in order to ensure patient privacy and HIPPA-compliance. Looks like a win for the medical industry. It could also work well in the financial world where "need to know" information can be blacked out on financial forms and applications.

Re:Secret != Classified (2, Insightful)

Intron (870560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984453)

It will be great until the first time somebody puts the form in upside-down and copies it.

Re:Secret != Classified (2, Informative)

cyphergirl (186872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984861)

After actually going to the Xerox website and reading about this new technology, I see that it is built around document routing (for review, for example) and has nothing whatsoever to do with their copier and MFD products. This makes sense, considering that they purchased A***** (can't remember the name), which handles legal discovery production and organization services for several corporations (SCO included). Xerox ("The Document Company") is more than just copiers these days.

Hack the copier? (1)

Edgester (105351) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984093)

[sarcasm]
Oh cool, now all of the secret info will already be collected in the copier for any bad guy to harvest! how marvelous
[/sarcasm]

Re:Hack the copier? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984655)

Ah, now everybody in the world can rest assured... we're all safe!!! (of what?)

Take the brain out of the user and into the system (2, Insightful)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984127)

I worked at a company that had a "top secret" project that they were working on that if the internal name were revealed it could result in, well, not much really... but management was very paranoid that it would get out. This copier could have sensed the name and blanked it out when sales copied "sensitive" material accidentally. Nice.

Except for the fact that once you make the machine start thinking the user begins to stop thinking. If sales knew about this feature then they wouldn't be bothered to care at all what they were copying and sending out to customers. Eventually the copier wouldn't be a fail safe for the user but would be just a new liability for error. I can't see how this is really much better except it just shifts the blame to IT.

From the P-Files... (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984129)

This idea was actually hatched at PARC. Present-day personnel were digging through old files to rediscover forgotten PARC inventions. It was originally used to redact humorous parts, so unfortunately the rediscoverers missed the punch line.

in Soviet russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20984351)

In Soviet Russia photocopier redacts you!
 
... uh, that was awfully close to truth.

A bit like GW... (1)

mrbobjoe (830606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20984479)

The massive AI in Metal Gear Solid, intended to (among other things) remove all references to the names of The Patriots. Of course, to do this, it had to have that list embedded in it...

Blackwater? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985299)

Meet Blackpaper!

Irony (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20985313)

I just finished pulling about one ream of paper out of the guts of the Xerox machine at my office. Why SURE I trust the Xerox to redact documents while I'm getting more coffee! What could go wrong??
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>