TLDR; The redaction roller stamp is not worth it; get/keep using a cross-cut shredder. Certainly, never use it for a data subject access request or freedom of information request.
What is redaction?
Redaction of text is when you obscure information from being seen and/or used. This is common for bank statements, hospital letters, and any form of written information. Redaction is used in the work environment when dealing with Freedom of Information 2000 (FOIA) requests or Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR) In this blog, I review a Redaction Roller Stamp. A stamp designed to roll ink over the top of personal data with the words “confidential” on it.
I have seen the redaction roller stamp advertised a lot. It pops up when I search for related items. So I finally caved, and I wanted to review it.
If you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, it’s this:
This stamp is also sold as an “Identity Theft Stamp” or “Identity Guard Roller Stamp”. Ultimately it’s a rolling stamp to block out any personal information. The idea is to prevent people who go through your bins or find your information on the floor from stealing it. It sells for approximately £7.99.
Some might see this as a better option than a shredder because it doesn’t require any electricity to run, and it’s not as messy. I beg to differ. I’ve got ink all over me because it didn’t dry fast enough. Redaction of my face is not what I planned, although most Information Governance folk will have done it at some point. However, the main question is; how did it fair on the test?
Redaction of hand-written personal data
With redaction, you have to be confident that you will prevent the data from being retrieved. One of the problems with handwritten data is that an imprint of the pen on the paper may lead to the inadvertent disclosure of information. This would be problematic even if the redaction roller stamp managed to cover the writing cover. On this occasion, it does struggle to cover handwritten ink.
Here you can see the outcome for various types of ink:
In the above picture, I used three types of ballpoint ink. I used black, red and blue, and the roller couldn’t fully cover them. You can still see the red and blue ink clearly in the image. Black ink also shows through, although it’s not as visible in the photo. You’ll just have to take my word for it. The pencil had the same problem.
Redaction of printed personal data
Initially, I thought that perhaps it’d been designed for printed material rather than handwritten material. But it doesn’t cover print well, either! Here’s the result on thick paper:
I also tried the stamp on printed data on shiny cardboard. It performed poorly and, more specifically, it didn’t dry, so smudges were huge:
Buy a shredder
Cross–cut shredders can cut one sheet of paper into hundreds of pieces with very little effort. This stamp is supposed to save you from hours spent hanging over the shredder (hoping it doesn’t burn out because you shred annually rather than regularly!). My opinion is that to secure your information, you need to buy a decent home shredder rather than rely on a stamp. I bought mine from Costco. It cost me £69.99. This is quite pricey for a home shredder, but I give it hell, and it hasn’t died on me yet.
Look for is a shredder with a security level of Din 3 or 4. My shredder is Din4. You can find more about Din / Security Level here.
Make sure it’s a cross-cut shredder, and ditch your strip cuts.
My summary is short and sweet. Don’t buy a Roller Redaction Stamp. It’s a waste of time and money. Buy yourself a decent shredder and let it do the work.
Do you have any thoughts about other types of redaction? Drop me a message in the comments below. I give this stamp a 0/10.
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