Rule 9037 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure governs protecting certain personal information in bankruptcy proceedings, including creditor matrices filed under Rule 1007 and proofs of claims under Rule 3001. See also Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2 governing redaction of certain personal and financial information contained in documents filed with a federal court, and Rule 49.1 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. The various federal rules were all driven in good part by Section 205(c)(3) of the E-Government Act of 2002, Public Law 107–347.
Filing documents under seal is one way to avoid having to redact filings, but the redaction requirements can come back into play whenever documents received by the court or on behalf of the court will be produced to opposing parties as part of the bankruptcy proceeding or related litigation, or in response to Freedom of Information Act requests. The variety of ways that documents can be filed (e.g., paper, electronically completed PDF forms, faxes, or scanned paper documents) adds to the complexities, all of which are compounded by manpower and funding limitations. Manual redaction is expensive, time-consuming, and error-prone.
The good news is that technology can be used to accurately identify and redact information contained in documents from a variety of sources, including faxes, scanned documents and native files, and to prepare logs of what was redacted (See FRBP 9037(f)). For example, BeyondRecognition, LLC, (“BR”) can identify social security numbers, account numbers, and specific locations in claim forms and redact them, plus create a detailed log of every redaction performed. As part of the processing, BR can redact not only the image layer of any TIF or PDF document, but also the corresponding text layer – in other words, the redacted information cannot be recovered from the redacted documents by parties to whom the documents are disclosed.
As part of the overall processing, BR can create searchable text for the documents, and can extract or pull specified data to create an associated database of the claims or documents processed. For example, the information from Bankruptcy Form 10 could be extracted and placed in a database with fields corresponding to the filled-in areas of the form:
Fielded data could be extracted from other document clusters or classifications.
BR can process millions of documents per day and customize the output to meet the needs of specific litigation and circumstances.