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Protecting your PDF reports

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reliantappraisals

Thread Starter
Junior Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
California
What do you think about password protecting and other ways to secure your PDF reports as a method of keeping the client form possibly making changes the file?
 

frozone

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2006
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New York
Its been discussed before. Definitely a must to password protect your PDF's from anyone being able to make changes however there are cracks that can unlock just about anything. For any measure of security someone that has something to gain will be able to come up with a counter measure.
 

Bobby Townsend

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Nov 23, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
You can convert a PDF document to an image document (e.g., TIFF/JPEG) and then convert it back to PDF. Doing this basically makes the file an efax.

There is a saying that goes something like - locks only keep honest people honest. I think that pretty much sums it up.
 

AL LLANOS

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Apr 28, 2006
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
California
You can convert a PDF document to an image document (e.g., TIFF/JPEG) and then convert it back to PDF. Doing this basically makes the file an efax.

There is a saying that goes something like - locks only keep honest people honest. I think that pretty much sums it up.

Bobby, I've tried this; and the result was a much larger file size. Have you been able to accomplish this with good results?

Al
 

Mike Garrett RAA

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Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
If someone wants to "crack" your .pdf file, they can do it. The same people who design the safe guards design the programs to defeat them!
 

Couch Potato

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Given the ease with which people forge passports, driver's licenses, credit cards, money orders and certified checks; an a appraisal is a piece of cake. Forget preventing alteration and stick to proving easily that an altered report was altered. There are many good systems to accomplish the task, but keep in mind a printed report in a file is not one of them unless a method exists to verify when it was created and that it was not altered.

I have certified PDF files, what's in your files?
 

Ross (CO)

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Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Remember when the phone company first came out with Caller I.D. ?......and everybody went ga-ga over it ? One pays an additional fee on their monthly bill, and they get some cheap little plastic box made in China to place on the kitchen counter or office desk so that they can see the name-and-number of the caller......and calls come in showing "Unavailable" or "Out of Area" or "Private", or "Toll Free"...any others in your market ? Heh !, Mr. Phone Company, I'm paying for Caller ID......so, where is it ?

Heh, Adobe, I paid for your PDF product with an opportunity to create a secured document. So, where is that security ? I guess we all got hosed, didn't we ! (Except, Sofa Spud, her PDF's are "certified".) How sad, though, that one Q&A coming from TAF a few months ago gave some rather disheartening remarks and simply side-stepped the issue of report INsecurity. It's now o.k. for the client to "do whatever they want" with an appraisal after they receive it. Nothing is really sacred anymore.

It is appalling that we have not heard one peep out of Congress or from those other major entities who are supposed to "care".....regarding the varying shades of malfeasance with the issues of forged appraisal signatures, unlocked and altered content in some reports, and the general mishandling of documents so intricately linked to rather LARGE outlays of money ! Hello ?.....is anybody home ?....oh, that's right, they're about to investigate steriods use in baseball !
 

Tim Vining

Freshman Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2007
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Washington
I agree that locks keep honest people honest. However, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, creates two prohibitions in title 17 of the US Code (The 1976 Copyright Act) Section 103 of the DMCA adds a new Chapter 12 to Title 17 of the US Code. New Section 1201 implements the obligation to provide adequate and effective protection against the circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works.
Section 1201 divides technological measures into two categories: measures that prevent unauthorized access to a copyrighted work and measures that prevent unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work.
As soon as you put pen to paper you have copyright protection. It is not necessary to put copyright notice on your work but it is beneficial.
Registering your work with the copyright office will among several things serve as a disenterested third party source that can veryify the original work. Thus, registering your work will aid in protecting you from identity theft and mortgage fraud. You should all do yourself a favor and go to the US Government website www.copyright.gov
 

Couch Potato

Elite Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
You can't make people be honest.

Heh, Adobe, I paid for your PDF product with an opportunity to create a secured document. So, where is that security ? I guess we all got hosed, didn't we ! (Except, Sofa Spud, her PDF's are "certified".) How sad, though, that one Q&A coming from TAF a few months ago gave some rather disheartening remarks and simply side-stepped the issue of report INsecurity. It's now o.k. for the client to "do whatever they want" with an appraisal after they receive it. Nothing is really sacred anymore.
You have the opportunity, use it. With a certified PDF you can require the client to use the Adobe product, which respects security settings, to view your report. It's not that the report won't open in other PDF reading programs, just that the signature is no longer present. TAF does not say tampering with an appraisal is okay, but merely applies the obvious fact that a one person cannot control the actions of another.

Document security is very similar to securing your computer against hackers and virus programs. One can make any computer 100% secure in less than 5 seconds; just cutoff the supply of electricity. The same is true for a 100% secure appraisal report, just encrypt the file and lock it so that it can't be opened. (Of course it should be noted that I rounded up to get 100%. A hacker could break into your location and power up the computer, and with enough computing power and time the encrypted file could be deciphered. Such events obviously can occur, but the probability of such events is zero when analyzed.)
 

Carnivore

Elite Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
If you register your copyright then a true copy is stored in the US Copyright Office archives. This becomes Prima Facia evidence in a court of law!!

http://www.copyright.gov/help/FAQ/FAQ-register.html#sendwork

Do I have to send in my work? Do I get it back?
Yes, you must send the required copy or copies of the work to be registered. These copies will not be returned. Upon their deposit in the Copyright Office, under sections 407 and 408 of the copyright law, all copies and identifying material, including those deposited in connection with claims that have been refused registration, are the property of the U.S. government.



Lots of benefits come with registered copyright protection.
 
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