Name of Kobe Bryant Accuser Inadvertently Released in Court PDF
Officials failed to redact personal details of alleged Colorado rape victim
16 September 2003
By Kurt Foss, Planet PDF Editor
In late July a Colorado judge issued an order threatening action against any media that published or broadcast the name of a young woman charging basketball star Kobe Bryant with rape. It seems Judge Frederick W. Gannett should have been more concerned with officials within his own fiefdom, who today inadvertently made the accuser's name public by failing to redact key personal details in an official PDF-based court document made available on a Web site maintained by Colorado's Office of the State Court Administrator.
Once again it was the sharp-eyed document sleuths at The Smoking Gun who discovered and reported to the court an hour or so later that information identifying the victim had not been redacted before the document was posted. According to TSG, "in an exhibit attached to a motion filed by the Vail Police Department seeking to quash a defense subpoena," the name and address of the 19-year-old accuser was plainly visible. Court officials soon removed the file, eventually replacing it with a new version [PDF: 817kb] in which the name, etc, had been blacked out.
It's not the first such blunder in a high-profile news story. We've reported previously on a couple other flawed redaction efforts -- "Washington Post's scanned-to-PDF Sniper Letter More Revealing Than Intended" and "PDF Secrets Revealed: PDF file redaction snafu exposes agents' identities," both which involved news media mistakes that revealed sensitive personal information.
Appligent's Redax and Redax Lite software completely and permanently removes information from PDF documents, and is used by many government agencies.
A recent article in Federal Computer Week listed the following benefits of Redax for companies and organizations needing to protect sensitive information in public documents:
Using Appligent Inc.'s Redax, users can:
- Remove text and images
- Replace removed text with text characters and images with black pixels or blank space
- Customize removal templates
- Comply with Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act rules
To that they can now add: 'Comply with judge's order.'