The Secrets of Electronic Documents

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Chapter three of the book Blown to Bits, (Abelson, Ledeen and Lewis), discusses some secrets and surprises of electronic documents. It states some case scenarios where documents have been redacted and posted online then later edited to reveal the information. These problems are caused by simple mistakes where the document owner uses black color on the highlighter option instead of encrypting the data.

It is interesting that people can be able to view a lot of information about a document that is transmitted online and deduce secrets from it. One such type of information is the entire history of a Microsoft word document that can be obtained by simply using the “track changes” option. The saved information about a document can also reveal metadata such as the name of the document which contains details of the owner of the computer, date of creation and date of modification of the document. Also, old discs still contain deleted information that can be retrieved because deleting a file in the index only removes it from the index (Abelson, Ledeen and Lewis 77).

Another fascinating detail is that these leakages can be easily stopped by document owners. One method that users can employ is converting Microsoft Word documents to Adobe which stores less private details. Data should also be encrypted to make sure that documents are not altered by unauthorized people. Similarly, one can scan printed pages with its redaction bars so that the resulting document is a series of black and white dots that do not have the underlying typographical structure (Abelson, Ledeen and Lewis 80).

It is also interesting that there is a difference in the reality of data, its representation, and an illusion. The connection between representation and reality has brought about opportunities such as digital signal processing. On the other hand, it has created dangers through software like Photoshop which alters photographic evidence. Illusions are pure fiction since they lack physical existence, for example, video games (Abelson, Ledeen and Lewis 90).

Work Cited

Abelson, Harold, Ken Ledeen and Harry R Lewis. Blown to bits: your life, liberty, and happiness after the digital explosion. New Jersey: Upper Saddle River, 2008.

September 11, 2023
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