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Confidential Police Documents Found In Confetti At Macy's Parade 180

Posted by samzenpus
from the putting-it-all-together dept.
cstacy writes "The Nassau County (New York) Police Department is 'very concerned' about reports that shreds of police documents (with social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, incident reports, and more) rained down as confetti in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The documents also unveiled the identities of undercover officers, including their SSNs and bank information, according to WPIX-TV. Macy's has no idea how this happened, as they use commercial, colored confetti, not shredded paper."
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Confidential Police Documents Found In Confetti At Macy's Parade

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  • We still do this? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:11AM (#42090979)

    Throw crap all over to celebrate what.... yay we're job creators! someone has to pick all this shit up!

  • I call BS on this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by multiben (1916126) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:19AM (#42091009)
    First of all, I believe Macy's on this. Why would you try to save a few bucks by using recycled documents? They're not a pet store. Secondly, confetti is usually pretty small, so who was walking around piecing tiny bits of paper together in the middle of the parade? I guess it's possible but the whole thing just smells like your standard internet myth.
  • by arielCo (995647) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:31AM (#42091063)

    "It landed on her shoulder," Finkelstein said, "and it says 'SSN' and it's written like a Social Security number, and we're like, 'That's really bizarre.'"

    Finkelstein, a Tufts University freshman, said he and his friends were concerned and picked up more confetti that had fallen around them.

    [cynical]
    They were lucky not to be charged for "illegal appropriation of classified government documents" or something like that, like that poor sod who bought a used computer, found kiddie porn in it and duly reported it.
    [/cynical]

  • Re:How to shred (Score:4, Insightful)

    by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:34AM (#42091071)

    Um... no. Our air conditioning costs (even in mid-winter) are already high enough without adding more heat.

    OK, so what about a heat-engine powered AC unit? (Besides, you know, not everyone lives in a jungle.)

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:38AM (#42091091) Homepage

    In addition, I have a cross-cut shredder at my home. I've looked at the bits of paper that come out of it, and it's nigh impossible to get any meaningful information off of them -- certainly not "Pete Jones is an undercover police officer, yes that Pete Jones, the one who buys his cocaine at the Acme Bar, the guy with the weird mustache." And mine is pretty old, too. They have ones that slice and dice the paper much finer than mine.

    So, while I'm not saying it's impossible that somebody picked up some confetti at a parade and realized to their horror that it contained sensitive, confidential information; but if that did in fact happen, it was clearly an intentional act by someone.

    Cue the dramatic organ music... and now let's start talking Occam's Razor. Do we believe this story, really?

  • by lsllll (830002) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:40AM (#42091099)
    Cross Shredder
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi.smokingcube@be> on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:58AM (#42091171) Homepage

    You really think the 'commercial' document shredder companies do what they say? No, they take the paper or hard disks or whatever off your hands and now your manager has a false sense of security.

    What does the shredder company do: they try to make money on both ends. Selling large amounts of recycled paper as confetti paper is a pretty good deal as a) they get paid for it and b) the confetti company doesn't have to pay for brand new paper.

    Do you really think the hard disks you gave them will get shredded as they say? No, it will get taken apart and the individual pieces (rare earth magnets, platters etc.) will get recycled wherever it is cheapest.

  • Re:How to shred (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @01:23AM (#42091259)

    What idiotic police department lists tax and banking information in a report containing a list of undercover police officers? Seriously, what kind of idiots are working in these law enforcement agencies? Oh right! The same people whom watch "The Real Housewives of City X" and listen to Justin Beiber.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday November 26, 2012 @01:51AM (#42091393) Journal

    You really think the 'commercial' document shredder companies do what they say? No, they take the paper or hard disks or whatever off your hands and now your manager has a false sense of security.

    What does the shredder company do: they try to make money on both ends. Selling large amounts of recycled paper as confetti paper is a pretty good deal as a) they get paid for it and b) the confetti company doesn't have to pay for brand new paper.

    Do you really think the hard disks you gave them will get shredded as they say? No, it will get taken apart and the individual pieces (rare earth magnets, platters etc.) will get recycled wherever it is cheapest.

    I'm pretty sure that the ones who bring containerized/tractor-trailer-installed shredders to your site and allow you to watch the sweet, sweet, destruction are probably not lying, since they have little ability to resist trivial inspection. Anybody else, for reasons totally unrelated to having to do real work, rather than 'ensuring secure document lifecycle management' by watching huge shredders get their shred on, I heartily distrust.

  • Re:How to shred (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:54AM (#42091639)

    Or just feed the paper into the incinerator in the basement that helps to heat your building.

    It is surprisingly difficult to burn large quantities of office-quality paper and ensure that nothing is left except ashes.

    Which is why such documents are shredded and then incinerated. I used to work for a bank, there's nothing difficult about it at all. The only thing people should take away from this article is that shredding documents really doesn't do much (if anything) to keep your data private.

  • Re:How to shred (Score:5, Insightful)

    by craigminah (1885846) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:58AM (#42092729)
    Looking at the size and length of the shredded documents, it looks like the police used a $29 home shredder from Staples. They should spend a few more dollars and get a shredder that can reduce their paper to dust or at least small bits instead of long strips.

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)

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