A Judge's Sloppy PDF Skills Leaked Some Apple Secrets
Apple now has another reason to be mad at the federal judge in California that denied its request to ban Samsung's Galaxy devices in the United States over copyright infringement.
Apple now has another reason to be mad at the federal judge in California that denied its request to ban Samsung's Galaxy devices in the United States over copyright infringement. In her publicly released ruling document, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh failed to properly redact details of Apple's internal workings. Reuters reports:
Koh attempted to redact nearly two dozen sentences or short fragments. But because of a formatting characteristic in the prior electronic version, the redacted material can be viewed by copying text from the PDF and pasting it into another document.
It's not as if Koh leaked the design of the iPad 3 or anything, though. Reuters flagged two fairly mundane revelations: 1) "Apple's own studies show that existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung devices" and 2) "The redacted portions also refer to licensing deals that Apple struck with other high-tech companies over one of its key patents. Issued in December 2008."
What's potentially more interesting is the burgeoning trend of high-ranking officials leaving sensitive information susceptible to copy-pasters. Earlier this year, the British Ministry of Defense published a PDF online that included top secret information about the Royal Navy's nuclear submarine fleet. All a curious citizen had to do was copy the blacked out passages and paste it into a blank documents to learn all about the British military's strategy for dealing with catastrophic accidents. Following reports of the nuclear sub leak, journalists found a number of similarly botched redactions among Ministry of Defense documents. A similarly embarrassing national security issue popped up in the United States in 2006, when AT&T included copy-pasteable details about an alleged National Security Agency spy bunker in the basement of a San Francisco office building, ironically just a few months after the NSA published a guide to securely redacting top secret documents, "Redacting with confidence: How to safely publish sanitized reports converted from Word to PDF." The NSA has since pulled their redaction guide from the web, although you can still find a copy online (PDF). What's even more ironic: the top Google result for "Redacting with confidence" is hosted on a federal court's website.