I need to recommend a way for our partners to easily redact sensitive information from PDFs. I hope to find a free solution, because it is hard enough to get them to redact as it is, and it would be even harder if they have to purchase expensive software to do it.
Adobe Acrobat has a tool for redacting info from a PDF. The "Redact" tool lets you draw a rectangle over sensitive info, and the software destroys the underlying information for the text you covered up so it can't be recovered. There's no way for anyone to delete the rectangle and see what's underneath it; that information is permanently gone. This is the best way to do it, but I don't think I will be able to convince our partners to purchase Adobe Acrobat.
Is there any free software that can redact information from a PDF, with an interface that consists of simply drawing a rectangle over what you want to redact? Note that the software itself must do more than just draw a rectangle; it must actually irreversibly redact whatever is under the rectangle.
I posted about a multi-step process for doing this on security.se, using a combination of a few programs, but I am looking for a single program with a one-step process in this question.
The redaction should not affect the other data in the PDF. Printing to a TIFF or to paper, redacting, and then scanning or converting back into a PDF turns the entire document into an image, requiring OCR to get the text back and resulting in a loss of data.
An option to strip metadata would be a bonus.
Kind of related to Need program to help remove information from scanned documents, but these are computer-generated PDFs, such as those output by Word, not images. Converting to an image results in too much loss of data.