Lawrence Mercantile > Spies & Secret Police > Top Secret
Classified information is sensitive information to which access is restricted by law or regulation to particular classes of people. A formal security clearance is required to handle classified documents or access classified data. The clearance process requires a satisfactory background investigation. There are typically several levels of sensitivity, with differing clearance requirements. This sort of hierarchical system of secrecy is used by virtually every national government. The act of assigning the level of sensitivity to data is called data classification.