Addons

HOWTO: Use Content Redaction

Updated: July 22, 2022

The Content Redaction feature requires at minimum NEV 2.2.0 and Nuxeo ARender addon 10.8.0.

Protecting and removing personal identifying information (PII) from your documents can be a requirement in order to comply with regulations such as the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Nuxeo Enhanced Viewer helps you with this use case by allowing to apply temporary or permanent redactions to your content. This page explains what to expect from this feature, and how to leverage it in your Nuxeo instance.

Enabling the Redact Permission

Since Nuxeo ARender addon 10.8.0, a new permission called Redact is available. This permission allows a user to get access to the redaction actions described below.

By default, the permission is not displayed in Web UI in order to prevent changes. To make use of it from Web UI, you can take our existing how-to as a basis and tweak it to make the Redact permission visible or include it in an existing or a custom permission.

Functional Overview

A user with the Redact permission can cover up the main binary file of a document using multiple options, and generate a permanently redacted file.

Redaction actions mentioned below act as a cover up and will not be sufficient to ensure security by themselves. To ensure that anything you covered is permanently removed, a permanently redacted file needs to be created.

NEV 2.2.0 introduces new buttons. If you did override the list of buttons to display, head to the release notes for NEV 2.2.0 to see what was added.

Redacting Text

Using the Redact button allows a user to highlight any portion of text in a document and redact it. The action is in repeat mode by default; you can add several redactions in a row and click on the button again to stop adding more.

redact-text.png

Only users with the Redact permission can see through redactions when they are using Nuxeo Enhanced Viewer.

Redacting an Area

Using the Redact Area button allows a user to highlight any area (e.g., over images) in a document and redact it. The action is in repeat mode by default; you can add several redactions in a row and click on the button again to stop adding more.

redact-area.png

Only users with the Redact permission can see through redactions when they are using Nuxeo Enhanced Viewer.

Searching to Redact

From the search panel, entering a keyword and using the Search and Redact button allows you to redact all occurrences of a particular keyword. The redactions are applied and saved immediately when pressing the button.

search-to-redact.png

Search to redact is applied manually. If the file is updated, NEV will not search automatically for new occurrences of previous search to redact results.

Adding a Reason for Redactions

After adding your redactions, a reason can be added for them as a comment. This can be achieved in different ways:

  1. Select any redaction and press the sticky note button to add your reason.
  2. Use the annotations panel, and double click on the corresponding redaction to insert your text
  3. Replying to the original comment if you are not the author of the redaction

Editing or Deleting Redactions

To edit or delete an existing redaction, click on it in the document. New options will appear in the top panel; press the trash button to delete it.

You can edit or delete your own redactions if you are their author, or any of them if you are an administrator.

Printing or Downloading a Redacted Version

Printing or Downloading options depend on your privileges.

Users without the Redact permission will always print or download a redacted copy of the document, except for the Download with FDF annotations option. This option does not allow redactions to be applied permanently, and therefore we recommend hiding the download with FDF annotations option for tighter security.

To download or print a redacted version of the document, they can use the standard Print and Download menu options.

Users who have the Redact permission have additional options at their disposal. For them, using the standard Print and Download menu options will return a document without any redaction. They should use the dedicated options to obtain a copy with permanently burnt in redactions instead:

  • Using the Print with redactions option from the print menu
  • Using the Download with redactions option from the download menu

Generating a Permanently Redacted File

It is important to remember that redactions are NOT a secure option until a permanently redacted file is generated. They only apply in the context of Nuxeo Enhanced Viewer, and accessing the file through any other means would show it unredacted.

Users with the Redact permission can generate a permanently redacted document at any time using the dedicated button.

generate-permanently-redacted-version.png

By default, pressing this button will:

  • Create a copy of the document in the parent location named [Document title] - Redacted
  • Replace the main binary file with its permanently redacted version

Configuring the Permanently Redacted File Generation Logic

You can change the logic that generates a permanently redacted document at any time using configuration and make it your own. Under the hood, Nuxeo uses an automation chain to execute it.

Assuming you already know how to create an automation chain, here is the information you need to know to override the existing chain:

  • The chain should be named ARenderRedactCompletion
  • You will receive as the input for the first operation the redacted file (Blob type)

You can declare the following parameters for your chain:

  • originalDoc (string type): document id for the unredacted document
  • nbRedactions (int type): number of redactions applied to the original document

Declaring these parameters allows you to fine tune the logic to apply, for example to create a relation between the unredacted document and the redacted one, or to avoid creating a new document if no redaction has been applied yet.

While you need to create a chain in order to override the logic, remember that you can plug an automation script that you created previously into it to express finer logic. Your existing automation scripts are found in the scripting category.

Questions and Answers

Does Redaction Work on PDF Files with Multiple Layers?

Yes. Any redaction will be applied on top of the existing layers, and content in layers below will be removed when generating a permanently redacted file.

Can I Redact Multiple Files in Bulk?

Redaction is only applied to individual files from the Nuxeo Enhanced Viewer interface.

Automating the redaction would require additional integration. It is possible to envision integrating with a third-party service (e.g., AWS Macie) and / or using regular expressions to detect specific patterns (e.g., social security numbers) and to create redactions in an automated way since redactions are stored as documents with customization.

Known limitations

No Support for Redacting Videos

Content redaction is disabled for videos because it is not possible to generate a permanently redacted version of the video at this stage.

Download With FDF Annotations Lets Users See Through Redactions

Users without the Redact permission will always print or download a redacted copy of the document, except for the Download with FDF annotations option. This option does not allow redactions to be applied permanently, and therefore we recommend hiding the download with FDF annotations option for tighter security.

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