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Incomplete PDF Redaction Leaks Data From UK MoD 171

Posted by timothy
from the peekaboo-theory dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The UK Ministry of Defence has been left with egg on its face, after a supposedly redacted PDF detailing secrets related to air defence radar systems was published on a parliamentary website. The problem? Whoever did the redacting simply changed the sensitive text to black on a black background, making it possible for anyone to access the information simply by cutting-and-pasting. The incident is particularly embarrassing for the Ministry, as six months ago precisely the same security screw-up occurred — that time related to sensitive information about nuclear submarines."
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Incomplete PDF Redaction Leaks Data From UK MoD

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  • by artor3 (1344997) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:01PM (#37656724)

    Seriously, this exact mistake seems to occur at least a couple times a year. You would think that anyone with enough security clearance to make redactions would, I don't know, take a 4 hour training course on how to use MS Word? Do they hand this job off to interns, or what?

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:13PM (#37656816) Homepage

    There are types of information that every sane person thins should be classified. For example, the engineering details of how to make nuclear weapons should probably be classified. There's a limit to how much of that can be practically classified because those secret are so old, but a similar remark about hydrogen bombs would apply. Similarly, if one country has a high ranking spy in another country's government (say for example the Brits having a North Korean colonel giving them information from the inside), wanting to keep that information secret is reasonable. These are but two of the more clear cut examples. There's a lot of information about the specs of military hardware that could give an enemy advantages if they knew about it. Radar used in defense systems (which is what was leaked in this context) is exactly that sort of thing.

    There are examples where governments try to classify things that they shouldn't. Sometimes they use that as a way of disguising violations of their citizens rights. Other times they use it as a way of covering their asses after they do something incompetent. But it is a mistake to look at the examples where governments have abused their ability to classify things and then conclude that all classification is bad.

  • Re:Not again (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:21PM (#37656876) Homepage Journal

    Because private businesses are competent? We read on Slashdot about their making this same mistake all the time. Why would some temp working for some defense contractor be any better? Especially when those temps are likely to be not just outsourced, but offshored? I can see plenty of, say, Pakistani office temps caring even less about protecting UK government secrets than their equivalent who is actually a citizen of the country at risk when the secret is divulged.

  • by Nutria (679911) on Sunday October 09, 2011 @06:47PM (#37657060)

    Christian "crusades"

    As opposed to the Muslim invasions of the Palestine, Egypt, whatever the rest of North Africa was called 1300 years ago, Iberia, France, Babylon, Persia, Afghanistan, India, etc, etc, etc?

  • by znrt (2424692) on Monday October 10, 2011 @02:58AM (#37659724)

    look at the footage of Saipan, of Iwo jima, when there was NO hope of victory, no hope of even a draw they still fought on.

    ok. Saipan was overrun Jun 1944, Iwo Jima Feb 1945. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated Aug 1945, directly causing the death of 150.000 - 250.000 civilians. A nuclear bomb is a weapon specifically designed to blow up entire cities. There is no imaginable military target for which such a device could be considered effective or even suitable. US invested billions of dollars employing more than 150.000 people for 7 years, to design and implement such an atrocity. And then they used it. Against civilians, of course, as was intended. Twice.

    The US has a lot of things they did wrong but I'd bullshit dropping the bombs is not among them.

    FTFY

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