PDF Security

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whitbey
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PDF Security

Post by whitbey » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:19 am

I use PDF files and create new PDF files for contracts as a realtor. The problem I run into is once a file was signed as a secure file the only way to edit the file is to print it out and rescan it. By edit, I mean to type new info or include the file in a larger doc. I am not changing the file.
Anyone heard of a program that can rescan a PDF file into a new unsecured PDF file?
sungfw
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Re: PDF Security

Post by sungfw » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:35 am

There are any number of websites that offer PDF unlocking.

The risk is that you have to upload the original to the site, and there's not way of confirming that they don't retain a copy of the unlocked document.

Why a PDF file for creating the contracts? Why not a word processor template of the standard contract, then save & print as a PDF for the final copy?
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BGuttman
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Re: PDF Security

Post by BGuttman » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:45 am

I think the problem is hat addenda and agreements need to be added to the contract after a signature.

I have an app on my phone that converts PDF to Microsoft Office or Apache Office documents. I remember seeing programs in Windoze as well. Have you checked on the Acrobat site? I believe the paid program will convert back from PDF.
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:25 am

"Rescanning" or translating PDFs to different formats isn't really a problem and there are a number of applications that can handle that. In fact, a lot of printers can do it if they have optical character recognition capability/software.

I strongly suspect that what you're trying to do is basically exactly what your document signing software is carefully designed to prohibit. The whole point of the classic "signed document" model is that there are SIGNED originals, and all others are simply COPIES (which can, perhaps with expert aid, be distinguished from the originals). And I'd hope it would be very good at that since presumably the results need to stand up in court (otherwise, why bother?). Have you contacted the company that provides that software and asked them? Or asked on a forum devoted to that software. Seems a little bizarre to post such a request on a trombone forum. :?

If a mere copy will suffice, then it's easy enough to get that, probably in several ways. But you'll never be able to use that COPY in a new document and be able to justify that the signature on it is valid (at least in the way that your software is ensuring for the original). I'm not sure what you want exactly, but it sounds like it will actually require new documents with new validated signatures, and which, like the original, will then be unalterable. But that's just my guess. It also sounds like the capability you want would be just great for fraudulently modifying existing documents and changing their critical content. I'm not suggesting that this is what your goal is, but that this is why you probably won't be able to get your software go along with whatever your goal is.
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sungfw
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Re: PDF Security

Post by sungfw » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:18 pm

BGuttman wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:45 am
I think the problem is hat addenda and agreements need to be added to the contract after a signature.
Not seeing why that's an problem: combining PDFs is a pretty standard (and trivial) operation. (In Apple Preview it's a simple drag-and-drop.) If you don't want to go to the trouble of combining PDFs, just create the addenda, get them signed, and package the whole thing (contract, addenda, what-have-you) up in a ZIP file.
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Matt K
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Re: PDF Security

Post by Matt K » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:23 pm

sungfw wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:18 pm
BGuttman wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:45 am
I think the problem is hat addenda and agreements need to be added to the contract after a signature.
Not seeing why that's an problem: combining PDFs is a pretty standard (and trivial) operation. (In Apple Preview it's a simple drag-and-drop.) If you don't want to go to the trouble of combining PDFs, just create the addenda, get them signed, and package the whole thing (contract, addenda, what-have-you) up in a ZIP file.
Its a trivial problem from a technical standpoint but from a legal standpoint, as pointed out, perhaps not so simple. Why not make the addenda prior to the signing?
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:06 pm

I believe that the OP is considering an addendum that would be required at a later date to, for example, extend or modify the original agreement. But there's confusion in wanting that to be a part of the original document -- and so covered by that original signature? THAT doesn't make any kind of sense.

A key phrase is "By edit, I mean to type new info or include the file in a larger doc. I am not changing the file. " because this is very confused. You can't "type new info" into the "file" because that file is the "unit of security". I'm pretty sure that's how the signing software conceives and implements it.

Why can't you just take that "file" (actually you're talking about a document in an abstract sense and not a file), and add something else to it that either isn't signed at all or is additionally signed or initialed? Well, that's a design question. That COULD be implemented in (I'm pretty sure) a fully secure and harmless way. But if the software you're using doesn't support that feature currently, then you're out of luck. Also, keep in mind that whle YOU'RE thinking of this as a "file", it's very likely either a collection of files or certain elements in a data base. A lot hinges here on what "document" means and what "file" means in these cases. And at this point, there's just too much vagueness and equivocation to know exactly what the problem is and how it might be addressed. You can't apply the simplistic model of paper documents here.

Again, the proper target of such questions is the provider of the signing software. There's also a danger that if you try in any way to "break" the security of the signed document ("file", if you prefer) that's produced, then that will violate the license that you (or the company you work for) has for the software. But that's speculation as well.
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BGuttman
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Re: PDF Security

Post by BGuttman » Wed Oct 10, 2018 11:22 pm

Note that Adobe Acrobat (paid version) will allow you to merge several PDF documents into a larger one. In this case the additional material will appear either in a document before the signed section or in a document after the signed section. So the OP can createa new PDF that contains the signed document and another document either before or after it.
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harrisonreed
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Re: PDF Security

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:25 am

Scanning? Just print to PDF -- then you can edit text and images on the signed document at will.

If it ain't in pen ink and notarized, it ain't real.
whitbey
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Re: PDF Security

Post by whitbey » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:06 am

I think the only solution is a software s an to PDF.
Creating a PDF from the PDF jumps the security with it.
I wanted to add a disclosure to a set of contracts in a PDF file recently and since it was authentisigned, I could not add the file. I printed it and scanned it to go on my merry way. A software scan would eliminate the quality loss from a print rescan.
Same goes with an offer received. To counter it, I need to print rescan so I can create a new document to return with changes.
Anyone know of a software scan to PDF gig?
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:03 am

whitbey wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:06 am
Creating a PDF from the PDF jumps the security with it.
I'm still really puzzled about what the intention is here in creating the new document (that's supposed to "contain" the old one, I guess). However you do that, I can't see (under the situation you describe) how the old "sub-document" retains ANY security at all, in any sense. How does getting a new PDF of the old (signed) document in ANY way not "jump the security" with it? And if that's true, why not just create the PDF copy you want -- "jumping the security" -- and use it in the new document?

Or if this creation of a non-authenticated PDF version of the original document isn't possible from the signing software you're using, then as just suggested, simply print to PDF -- unless THAT's not supported. Also, if you use OCR technology, you won't suffer any "quality loss" since you don't end up with an image -- you end up with a PDF text document. That MAY require some minor "clean up" of the text (probably not, I would hope).

By the way ... What signing software (application, service, whatever) ARE you using? I'm getting pretty impressed with it just from seeing this.
Gary Merrill
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harrisonreed
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Re: PDF Security

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:31 pm

Microsoft print to PDF (not adobe) doesn't transfer security to the new file, and I believe Cute and Foxit are the same.
whitbey
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Re: PDF Security

Post by whitbey » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:57 pm

ghmerrill wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:03 am
whitbey wrote:
Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:06 am
Creating a PDF from the PDF jumps the security with it.
I'm still really puzzled about what the intention is here in creating the new document (that's supposed to "contain" the old one, I guess). However you do that, I can't see (under the situation you describe) how the old "sub-document" retains ANY security at all, in any sense. How does getting a new PDF of the old (signed) document in ANY way not "jump the security" with it? And if that's true, why not just create the PDF copy you want -- "jumping the security" -- and use it in the new document?

Or if this creation of a non-authenticated PDF version of the original document isn't possible from the signing software you're using, then as just suggested, simply print to PDF -- unless THAT's not supported. Also, if you use OCR technology, you won't suffer any "quality loss" since you don't end up with an image -- you end up with a PDF text document. That MAY require some minor "clean up" of the text (probably not, I would hope).

By the way ... What signing software (application, service, whatever) ARE you using? I'm getting pretty impressed with it just from seeing this.

A Party writes an offer and there agent sends it to you.

Now you want to counter it with changes and send it back. Changes are scratch out and new typing in the white space. In order to do this you have to lose the security to work with there docs.

There is an online service that does the signatures that will let you make changes online, however they have all control and you can't make changes to your work or save it in a format that is usable.

Once you make a change to the contract the security is obsolete and the original writer would need to accept the changes with initials and signatures.
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:10 pm

Are these PDF documents you're referring to actually PDF documents with (structured) TEXT content? Or are they just IMAGES with a PDF wrapper on them? For example, when you submit an offer (or counter-offer) to the signing service, is the file you submit a PDF text document, or is it a PDF document of an image of the offer? (https://www.abbyy.com/en-us/finereader/pdf-types/)

If it's the former, then it seems you already have (at some stage, at least) an editable PDF document. If it's the latter, then the first thing I'd do (and maybe this is what you're asking for) is to create that editable PDF document from the PDF image so I could use it (perhaps repeatedly) later in the negotiation for offers/counter-offers.

If you need something to manipulate PDF documents, use OCR to create the a "textified" PDF From an image, or to manipulate or edit PDF files, you might take a look at PDF Element Professional (https://pdf.wondershare.com/). It also supports digital signatures and will convert PDF to/from other formats. I got it rather than spending the big bucks for Acrobat. I haven't used it much, but I have used it a number of times (including for editing and manipulating PDF files of music scores). It's $90 and can save you a huge amount of headache time over trying to run around a PDF problem in other ways.

Any problem you have with "breaking" the signing validation will likely remain because that validation HAS to be attached to the particular document (and not some newer version of it, even if you've just "added" some things). But all you care about is getting each document along the way signed -- and you don't have to think of that as a kind of "evolving" document, but rather as a sequence of individual documents, each signed and related to one another. Or at least that's the sense I'm getting of your problem.
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Matt K
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Re: PDF Security

Post by Matt K » Thu Oct 11, 2018 6:48 pm

I don't understand why people are signing documents that aren't the final contract. Why not make a Google Doc or something collaborative and modify it until you have something you both want to sign and then create the signed pdf?
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:25 am

Matt: I'd guess that you've never bought a house.

There's a lot of legalized ritual in it, anchored in real estate law. An offer itself is regarded as a legal commitment (a kind of conditional contract). When the seller accepts (and signs!) the offer, it becomes, in itself, a legally binding contract -- and so the initiating party (buyer) has to sign the offer. There can be a lot of conditional and detailed offer/counter moves going on during this process, but the "evolving document" becomes a binding contract at the point that one party accepts (signs) an unconditional acceptance of the other party's (signed) proposal. That process requires signing each offer and counter-offer in the sequence. The idea is that "only written offers may become binding contracts", and so "should be signed".

Could you avoid this by just informally negotiating with a seller (or buyer) until you both mutually agree on terms and then draw up the final contract? Sure. But if you have a licensed real estate agent involved (who's going to get a cut of the deal, of course, and who has legal obligations in the process) that's not going to happen. And most people wouldn't want that to happen because of various concerns they'd have about the complexity of the process and maybe making a wrong step, committing themselves to something they weren't aware of, etc. Also, in an offer you're typically making various legal representations, and people want to see that signed.

Part of this is business ritual (common practice and required by agents) and part of it is legal ritual (required by state law), but basically it's "how it's done". In my life, I've bought three houses and one piece of property, and sold two houses. Only the second house I bought was a "for sale by owner" deal, and it worked very slickly because the seller was just great to deal with.
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Matt K
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Re: PDF Security

Post by Matt K » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:39 am

ghmerrill wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:25 am
Matt: I'd guess that you've never bought a house.
Not even close!

I understand the legal implications of offer/counteroffer, so the first paragraph makes sense. What doesn't make sense is still the workflow.

So take an example where you have an offer for a car with an odometer reading of 50 miles. Person sees that and checks that the odometer is, in fact, 250 and what the document to be modified.

Using only PDF files, you'd have to make a copy of the document for them to sign to indicate the correction. They then sign it and return the signed PDF.

This is the stage where I'm seeing a divergence. I'm not understanding why the now signed offer isn't being retained and the document modified. After all, each offer/counteroffer needs to be signed. My understanding is that the OP is trying to use unsigned copies (scans) of these documents which, as far as I can tell, nullify the legality of signing in the first place. Ergo, if they are going to abandon the pretense of legal offer/counteroffers why not just make the document collaborative in the first place? It just eliminates unnecessary steps.

Otherwise, it seems to me that the signed document should be retained, a new offer/counteroffer written up for the other party to sign. Then that document would be retained, and new modifications would be made. In other words, if the key component is that each offer/counteroffer needs to be signed, the only way to do it digitally is to make a copy of the whole document for each modification made. So if there are 40 offer/coutneroffers, there would be 41 documents. 40 offers/counteroffers that are signed by the appropriate parties and then a 41st, which is the final document itself.
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:20 am

Pretty much everything after your "This is that stage where I'm seeing a divergence ...", I agree with -- though I confess that I don't get your car example since buying cars differs substantially (in general) from buying houses in various respects. For example, car salesmen don't have state real estate boards and bar associations watching over their shoulders to ensure that licensing requirement and a complex mess of state statutes are enforced. But that's not important. You're spot on with the work flow issue.

I think the core of the problem lies in
My understanding is that the OP is trying to use unsigned copies (scans) of these documents which, as far as I can tell, nullify the legality of signing in the first place. Ergo, if they are going to abandon the pretense of legal offer/counteroffers why not just make the document collaborative in the first place? It just eliminates unnecessary steps.
which is what I was trying to point out from the beginning as well.

Part of what the OP seems to be indicating is that he doesn't actually HAVE an unsigned PDF version of the document and wonders how to get one. (Hence my suggestion for using something like Acrobat or PDFelement, maybe with OCR.) It's not clear exactly what the current workflow IS -- in terms of ending up with the first signed document: What exactly gets sent to the signing service? Where did that come from and in what form is it? Why can't whatever is sent to the signing service be used as the basis for the next document in the offer/counter-offer sequence (including in that any information changed in the counter-offer)? Why is there any thinking about (what appears to be) adding "addenda" to the signed document, rather than creating a new (expanded) document and sending THAT as a signed offer? I get the sense at times that there are two conflicting/incompatible models being used here: a paper document model and a digital document model.

Technically, we know at least this:
  1. We can get a standard PDF (text) file from an image file if we need to (using OCR in one form or another and hand-editing any minor infelicities if necessary)
  2. We can (with the right tools) either edit that PDF file directly or transform it into a more easily managed format (e.g., Word) if we want to, and then edit it.
  3. We can then create a PDF version of the result for signing.
  4. Then we can keep keep doing steps 2 and 3 over and over.

Otherwise, I agree that we seem to have a murky problem description.
Gary Merrill
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whitbey
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Re: PDF Security

Post by whitbey » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:20 pm

OP here.

Just wondering if anyone knew of software scan that would make a clean image PDF file.

As there are many states and many countries I feel trying to explain the legal setting and traditions of a contract was not the intent of the thread. Just wonder if I could find some tech help.
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ghmerrill
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Re: PDF Security

Post by ghmerrill » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:13 pm

What exactly do you mean by "clean image PDF file"? That is, what does the "clean" part mean to you, and what does the "image" part mean?

And exactly what do you want this file made FROM? (Examples: Paper document, Word document, online image, ...)

Several people have tried to provide "tech help". But they all seem to be confused by exactly what you're starting from and exactly what you want to end up with. You've definitely been given answers about software that can make what MOST people would think of as a "clean image PDF file", even if that phrase has no standard meaning.
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1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)
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Re: PDF Security

Post by whitbey » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:22 pm

By clean image I mean something that removes the security. I plain image file in PDF format. The same way as print the PDF file. Scan it. The new PDF file is now clean of security. A soft ware scan would eliminate the quality drop.
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Re: PDF Security

Post by sungfw » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:33 am

whitbey wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:22 pm
By clean image I mean something that removes the security. I plain image file in PDF format. The same way as print the PDF file. Scan it. The new PDF file is now clean of security. A soft ware scan would eliminate the quality drop.
You can remove the security in Adobe Acrobat Pro by going to File > Properties > Security and selecting "No security." (Of course, you'll need to enter the password used to lock it in the first place.)

Or just use one of the online unlockers to create an unlocked copy.
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Re: PDF Security

Post by whitbey » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:27 pm

Score, a direct hit.
Put the file in google docs. Open in Lumin. Print to a PDF. Nice!
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