Something interesting has arisen here in Florida concerning the Parkland shooting, although this post is not strictly about the shooting, but about a quirky consequence of our digital universe.
Apparently a long-awaited consultant’s report on the shooting was released publicly recently, but in order to comply with the shooter’s privacy considerations, large sections of it were redacted. That is, if you printed out the report, or brought up the file on your computer to read it, whole sections of it were “blacked out”, overprinted with a black stripe, impossible to read. Naturally, these are the parts journalists and the public were most interested in!
There was so little useful information in the report that one reporter did a “find” on the text to locate every mention of the shooter’s name. The find worked, even though it located those mentions even in paragraphs that had been blacked out! As it turns out, the redacted text was still in the file, it was only temporarily obscured by the text editor that the document was composed on, and later read with. The upshot was that the reporter simply copied the original, redacted document to another file with a different name and the opaque stripes disappeared, revealing the redacted text concealed beneath.
Whether this was a deliberate ploy by the publishers of the document, or a colossal error on their part, is irrelevant. Its still a good thing to know.