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Tackling the elephant in the (data) room with Luminance: Redaction

26 March 2021 | Luke Taylor, Subject Matter Expert

The ‘right to be forgotten’ under data privacy legislation like the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) means that when managing external requests for documents, whether it be as part of the disclosure phase in a litigation or before a commercial transaction, it is critical that all confidential information is removed or ‘redacted’. Failure to do so can result in a hefty financial penalty as well as reputational damage, meaning that using AI-powered redaction tools like Luminance has never been so important.

A double burden: rising data volumes and increasing data governance rules

Computing, the internet and the rise of cloud-based data storage has created a a massive expansion in the volume of data that organisations produce, use, and store. The implication for lawyers is stark: it is not uncommon for lawyers to be reviewing and handling hundreds- sometimes thousands or tens of thousands - of documents for an M&A due diligence review or a DSAR (Data Subject Access Request). Relying on manual redaction processes – either printing out documents and blocking out sensitive information using a marker pen or doing the equivalent in a Word processing tool - are inherently risky and prone to human error, as well as incredibly time and resource-intensive. Indeed, it may not always be feasible for lawyers to conduct a rigorous redaction review when faced with a tight two-week deadline for a due diligence review, for instance.

This is all the more pertinent in the context of the huge financial penalties that can be imposed on organisations that fail to comply with data privacy legislation- for instance, under the GDPR, firms can be fined up to 4% of their annual turnover. Take the example of Basildon Borough Council who were given a £150,000 fine after accidentally revealing private information about a householder’s planning application online. But beyond financial risk, failing to redact can also present legal and reputational challenges. A recent notable example is when the lawyers of Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, failed to redact and thus accidentally revealed sensitive information about his contacts with a suspected Russian spy to a federal court.

Rethinking redaction with Luminance

Luminance’s powerful redaction tool introduced earlier this year is completely transforming the way lawyers go about redaction reviews. Luminance uses machine learning to read and form an understanding of legal data, no matter how vast or complex. Luminance’s new AI-powered redaction tool then works out-of-the-box to highlight Personally Identifiable Information (PII) including party names, email addresses, bank details, passport numbers and social security numbers. This is a task that could take weeks manually but is conducted almost instantaneously in Luminance.

To expedite the review even further, users also have the option to select specific words or phrases- for instance, this could be all documents relating to Russia- and Luminance is able rapidly surface all other examples, allowing lawyers to conduct a bespoke redaction review. Moreover, by understanding conceptual similarity between terms, lawyers using Luminance for redaction purposes can be sure of the most thorough reviews. Users have the option to redact each instance of the confidential information or can use Luminance’s powerful bulk redaction tool to fully redact information across the documents in a matter of clicks.

On the other hand, for lawyers conducting a DSAR where they must only identify information relating to the subject and no other third party information, Luminance’s ability to ‘inverse redact’ – i.e. redact all information that is not personally identifiable- is game-changing.

Recently, top-tier Portuguese law firm, Vieira de Almeida (VdA), used Luminance to conduct a redaction review of over 8,000 documents. Despite it being the first time some team members had used the technology, Luminance’s quick deployment and intuitive design meant the 20-person team completed the 8,000-document redaction project 50% faster than compared to manual methods. Sofia Barata, Principal Consultant at VdA, commented: “Luminance’s powerful AI technology is revolutionising the redaction process, allowing us to review vast swathes of documents and strip out confidential information with a click of button.”

Luminance: transforming redactions for the legal sector

With Luminance’s pioneering redaction tools, lawyers can say goodbye to mindless redaction projects, transforming what was once a painstaking, resource-intensive process into something that is efficient and thorough. Start your free, two-week pilot with Luminance today to find out more about how you can use Luminance to redact information on your own documents.