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Re: QUESTION: Redacted testimony

From: Christopher Atkinson <cwa@pipeline.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2000 23:15:56 -0400
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <LOBBLEOECJNLOHKCNBKACEOMCAAA.cwa@pipeline.com>
"Redacted" is lawyer-speak for taking a big, black magic marker and crossing
out items in a document that the redactor thinks are confidential. A typical
case is items released by United States government agencies under the
Freedom of Information Act, where they cross out every word but "the". (In
response to Mr. Bailey's separate post, the thread he cited concerned a
blacklined document, lawyer-speak for <INS> and <DEL>. Jeez, and people
think computers have jargon!)

I'm not quite sure what stretching a black pixel means. Would this approach
work properly where a user was using a large font?

One alternate approach would be to use Cascading Style Sheets. The danceable
example below seems to work okay on Netscape 4.7 and Internet Explorer 5.01.

This approach allows the redacted material to scale with the font the
browser is using. It would not work well where the browser was using a user
style sheet which set colors. (There might be a JavaScript-based solution to
this.)One word of caution: I read someplace that using the same
background-color and text color is considered spamming by some search
engines. I do not know if this applies to CSS. I also do not know if you
want these pages spidered in any event.

Would this approach be better from an accessibility standpoint, or am I
taking the commandment that "Thou Shalt Use CSS Always" in too
fundamentalist a spirit?

Regards,

Chris Atkinson

EXAMPLE FOLLOWS:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/strict.dtd">
<HTML>
  <HEAD>
	 <TITLE>The Richard Roundtree Flick That Dare Not Speak Its Name</TITLE>
<STYLE>
	 .redacted {
	 background-color: #000000;
	 color: #000000;
	 }</STYLE>
  </HEAD>
  <BODY>
	 <P>Q: Who's the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the
		chicks?</P>
	 <P>A: <SPAN CLASS="redacted">{Confidential Material Deleted}</SPAN></P>
	 <P>Q: You're damn right! Who is the man that would risk his neck for his
		brother man?</P>
	 <P>A: <SPAN CLASS="redacted">{Confidential Material Deleted}</SPAN></P>
	 <P>Q: Can ya dig it? Who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger
		all about? </P>
	 <P>A: <SPAN CLASS="redacted">{Confidential Material Deleted}</SPAN></P>
	 <P>Q: Right on! You see this cat <SPAN CLASS="redacted">{Confidential
		Material Deleted}</SPAN> is a bad mother<SPAN
CLASS="redacted">{Confidential
		Material Deleted}</SPAN></P>
	<P>A: Hush your mouth!</P>
	<P>Q: But I'm talkin' about <SPAN CLASS="redacted">{Confidential
		Material Deleted}</SPAN></P>
		<P>A: Then we can dig it!</P>
		<P>Q: He's a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman</P>
		<P>A: <SPAN CLASS="redacted">{Confidential
		Material Deleted}</SPAN></P>

	</BODY>
</HTML>
Received on Monday, 24 July 2000 23:26:06 GMT

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