First you tell us that your computers aren’t tech enough to search e-mails. Then you hand out a bunch of carefully redacted PDF documents that turn out to be crackable by anyone who has ever highlighted text.

A number of the documents released today pursuant to Shirley Fuller’s Public Record Act request contain little black boxes covering some words. Fine – agencies are within their rights to redact sensitive information. The problem being that anyone with your grandma’s computer skills can make these particular black boxes disappear, revealing the hidden text underneath.

To illustrate: These county-style redactions are exactly as difficult to decipher as the following coded message:


Take comfort, Humboldt County: You are in good company.

The LoCO and other news organizations would be perfectly within their legal rights to post these documents as-is, but since some of the redactions pertain to the street address and cell phone numbers of private citizens, including at least one victim of crime, we’re going to hold off on our big document dump.