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

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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  • How to shred (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:10AM (#42090971) Journal

    I think you'd need to ensure your sensitive documents were pulped, rather than simply shredded. Much harder to piece together paper machet'

  • Re:How to shred (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:38AM (#42091089)

  • Re:WTH? (Score:4, Informative)

    by PNutts ( 199112 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:41AM (#42091105)

    The journalist uses the word "confetti" which does not mean "long strips of paper that were not crosscut shredded". Every shredder I've seen for the last decade has been a crosscut shredder instead of the old style. There's one in this office not ten feet from me that does crosscut shredding, and my Dad has one in his office too. These are the ordinary models that anyone can buy. So, were these police documents ribbons instead of confetti? The article doesn't say. Yet another proud day for journalism.

    Also, not a proud day for reading comprehension. TFA states "shredded police documents mixed in with confetti". Other articles have photos and videos of the strips of paper which have complete lines of text.

  • Re:I call BS on this (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:49AM (#42091147)

    It was not a cross-cut shredder. The police reports evidently came in "strips."

    See this article [].

  • Shredder models (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:56AM (#42091163) Homepage Journal

    Heh... I'd just go with a high security shredder approved by the NSA. Chops your average 10 pt font letter into at least 4 pieces.

  • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@yahoo.GAUSScom minus math_god> on Monday November 26, 2012 @01:15AM (#42091221) Homepage

    Shredding paper reduces average paper fiber length and thus also reduces the value of the paper as a recycled material. Also makes the paper take up more volume in transport. Additionally, if you don't trust your recycler to securely handle your intact paper, shredding the paper before you give it to them is a minimal improvement for the same reason shredding the paper before throwing it all over new york city wasn't very secure, and there was far more randomization there than shredding paper into a bucket.

    So there's significant practical reasons to not shred the paper before shipping it out - increases costs, reduces value, minimal security improvement.

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

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @01:55AM (#42091407) Journal

    TFA is entirely worthless; but the stuff showing up on Google images for this little fiasco shows strip-cut material that hasn't even been fed into the shredder in the correct direction(so the strips tend to include entire lines, rather than mere fragments) unless our dear intertubes are lying, somebody did an atypically bad shredding job, even by the standards of small-business-who-buys-their-shredding-through-staples standards.

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

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @02:40AM (#42091569) Journal

    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.

  • by girlinatrainingbra ( 2738457 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:02AM (#42091661)
    Well, that's what happens when you outsource a significant privacy-related concern to someone outside of your internal domain: they might not shred it well enough or finely enough so that it is unrecoverable. Just look at the DARPA Shredder Challenge [] to see how much can be recovered from shredded documents.
    Also, see the movie Argo [] for another example of the carpet-weaving approach to unshredding strip-shredded documents when you've got enough manpower.
  • Re:How to shred (Score:4, Informative)

    by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @03:15AM (#42091723)

    The best answer is to shred the documents with a proper cross-cut shredder, pulp the shreds and then recycle the pulp into new paper things.
    And its good for the environment too :)

  • Re:How to shred (Score:2, Informative)

    by DeathElk ( 883654 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @07:33AM (#42092609)

    Most entertaining thread I've seen on /. for a while

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

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @10:20AM (#42093485) Homepage

    But that won't cover stuff printed in portrait format. Shredding in only one direction is a bad idea.

    Hell, my home shredder, like most of them nowadays, is a cross shredder, which means it's cutting in both directions at once. That ends up making fairly small confetti-like pieces.

  • Re:I call BS on this (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sentrion ( 964745 ) on Monday November 26, 2012 @12:05PM (#42094405)

    Good point. It's all too easy to spin pre-shredded documents to look like your docs are being shredded when the real docs are being transferred to a safe storage box to sell to corporate spies and ID theives. A document scanner could also just as easily be installed between the feeder and the cutting blades to record data milliseconds before shredding. Printers and copiers are a major security concern as well since most of today's models will save digital copies of recently printed documents in onboard memory. If you have secrets worth shredding it's probably best not to outsource the task to a guy with a truck earning minimum wage. Same goes to outsourcing your IT department.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."