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Re: Locking Document Content


Date: Dec 22, 2003 1:45PM

Hello Wayne,
We in my state are equally troubled and a bit skeptical of the basis for the security justification you mention. I wonder:
1. What makes them think that anyone with a scanner couldn't make a bogus version of their "secure" document?
2. How would the bogus document be distributed on the Web and have any credibility? Are they concerned about it being published from inside their system? If so, then this is an internal security issue, not a document security issue..

Check to be sure that they are using the proper security settings and that they are making the PDF with Acrobat 5.0 or greater. See Adobe's manual on page 25 on setting security. http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/pdfs/accessbooklet.pdf

Offering the document, as you recommended, in a non-PDF version is also a good idea.

Security and accessibility need not be mutually exclusive. Putting the PDF & Security Issue (myth?) to rest would help us all.

>>> <EMAIL REMOVED> 12/21/03 10:42:06 PM >>>
Help from anyone,

Currently the California State University System prints off all policies and
executive orders in PDF format. Lately they have even been setting all the
security options so tight that I can't use adaptive technology. Now, their
reason for behavior is a perceived need for security. They feel that some
nefarious agent might take online documents, change their content and
publish them as if they were official CSU documents. (I think that is the
worry. That seemed to be what they said.)

I sit on the CSU System Committee on Accessible Technology, so when I
suggested that all PDF documents, which are produced first by word
processors, be placed in standard markup format (HTML, XML, whatever) as
well as PDF format. The Chancellors Office people, especially the legal
people, seem to be very worried by this prospect. Now, I suggested that
they save all documents as in PDF and markup format, post both formats on
the web and simply state that the PDF format is the official document. Then
they could lock up the PDF document tight as a drum, and still have an
accessible document. This would work, but it would have the problem of
consistent versioning. That is, without care the official copy of a
document could be more up-to-date that the markup unofficial version -a
minor danger.

To be honest, I find the Chancellor's Office concerns a little excessive,
but they have much more power than me, so I must listen.