Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Confidential Police Documents Found In Confetti At Macy's Parade

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the putting-it-all-together dept.

Privacy 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."

cancel ×

180 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

How to shred (4, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42090971)

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 (4, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42090989)

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

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

Re:How to shred (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091029)

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

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

Re:How to shred (3, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.)

Re:How to shred (3, Funny)

fuzzybunny (112938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092457)

That'd be hilarious. I can already imagine the business justification: "we need to install a heater so we can power the cooler because we heat too much when it's cold outside."

Re:How to shred (1)

j-pimp (177072) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092697)

(Besides, you know, not everyone lives in a jungle.)

I used to work for an ISP in New York. The ACs always ran. Although maybe outside air exchange could have prevented that a few days a year,

Re:How to shred (2)

RobKow (1787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091077)

You can use your incinerator to run absorption cycle chillers, then. :)

Re:How to shred (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091089)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_refrigerator

Re:How to shred (4, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091569)

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.

Re:How to shred (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (2)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091711)

If you shred it and let it flutter down in to the incinerator it would probably burn quite vigorously.

Re:How to shred (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091739)

It's also surprisingly difficult to find an office with basement incinerator. There might be a handful in my city, but I rather suspect the number is *none*.

Re:How to shred (2)

jimshatt (1002452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092535)

"none" is not a number!

Re:How to shred (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092631)

NaN != NaN

by definition

Re:How to shred (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091867)

Blend the ashes in water. Cross shredded, burnt and pulped in water. No one is recovering that.

Re:How to shred (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091993)

Some idiot kid incinerated our plastic trash cans. Ordinary trash and recycleable trash cans burnt down to the wheels. The paper trash can was only burnt one third down, and the paper itself stacked/compressed inside rather compactly was mostly untouched. I suppose that the problem is getting the oxygen where it counts.

Re:How to shred (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42090999)

Some of these d-count shredders from the Far East aren't worth the paper they... well, they're not worth much.

Should've gone with a high end Arthur Andersen [bbc.co.uk] model shredder.

Shredder models (4, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091163)

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.

Re:How to shred (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091209)

Downmod this fucking $hill. So tired of the $hills on this site

Re:How to shred (-1, Flamebait)

HornyBastard (666805) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091239)

Downmod this fucking AC. So tired of the ACs on this site

Re:How to shred (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091261)

Downmod this fucking horny bastard. Everyone's tired of horny bastards on this site.

Re:How to shred (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091325)

Downmod this uncle shagging mental retard with brains the size of a cat's nostril and balls that produce rat sperm. Everyone's tired of uncle shagging mental retards with brains the size of a cat's nostril and balls that produce rat sperm.

Re:How to shred (1, Informative)

DeathElk (883654) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092609)

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

Re:How to shred (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091069)

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

It's a question of volume. Once you start shoving serious quantities of paper, you should really look into sending all your printers and copiers to law school, and retooling the UIs and print drivers so that all printing automatically takes place in the context of attorney-client privilege.

Thanks to the magic of inexpensive ethernet-attached printers and online degree mills, all the printers that the C-levels and above use are doctors as well as lawyers, and we imported a HIPPApotamus to guard the filing cabinets. It doesn't get more secure than that!

Re:How to shred (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091093)

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

Hmm yes. Intriguing. This "pulping" process, pray tell is it simple enough for a nigger to do it?

I got two words for you (5, Insightful)

lsllll (830002) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091099)

Cross Shredder

Re:How to shred (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:How to shred (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091279)

What idiotic police department lists tax and banking information in a report containing a list of undercover police officers?

Maybe the payroll department?

Re:How to shred (2)

rioki (1328185) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091969)

The payroll department has the real names of the people on file. The operations department has the cover names. Separation of concerns, not that hard. Oh yea... and dispose of the documents separably.

Re:How to shred (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092105)

So then you claim detailrd knowledge of the inner workings of thid particular constabulary I see.
With your credentials thusly established, perhaps you could offer an explanation on how this all came raining down as confetti.

Re:How to shred (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091499)

It depends on the operation. Short term you get paid, your wage is kept aside for you as your 'undercover' work pays in 'cash'/'drugs'.
1-2 years your up a rank and out, cover lost for ever.
The real fun is for the federal and state task force members.
They need 'day' jobs going back decades and real paperwork to stay undercover for 10's of years.
A tame utility company sends out a normal payslip while a person spends all weekends and parts of the week getting deeper in sensitive political activities.
In the past a physical paper trail was very easy to set up and very hard to database back by any outsider.
If your infiltrator does not drive a distinctive pickup in a small town and pull into the local FBI/court/federal building just after going undercover - their story should hold.
How things can go classical wrong - antiwar group sees a face they trusted in the local paper in police uniform and the questions start.
A veteran screaming about membership of an elite unit, can usually be backtracked by people who worked in or around elite units.
The posture, haircut, tone, jargon, years - dont add up due to a sloppy rushed background mostly built on idea of an "elite unit" offering some database cover.
What department lists tax and banking information in a report containing a list of undercover police officers? They all do as the list of undercover and informants is now so big computers are needed.

Re:How to shred (3, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 (1)

geogob (569250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092721)

They might have missed as step as they recycled the paper as confetti.

Re:How to shred (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092009)

Doesn't sound like a bad idea, nor would any means of destruction that inhibits reassembly, such as burning, running through a shredder that cuts down to pieces so small as to be too hard to put back together, if not impossible outright, though "not printing them out in hard copy in the first place" may be a better one.

Here's a question, though: why the fuck is anyone still throwing or dropping or shooting "confetti" on public streets? Isn't that littering? Why is Macy's not getting fined for this? Can anyone really say that when they 'clean up' afterward, that they really clean up every last shred? This is almost as stupid a way to celebrate as shooting guns into the air in a crowded city is.

Re:How to shred (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092289)

or at least don't throw your shredded documents in the confetti.

Re:How to shred (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092435)

Ideally, the police would adopt this new tech called computer and stop using paper altogether.

We still do this? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42090979)

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

Re:We still do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091059)

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

Sir I like the way you think.

Re:We still do this? (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091289)

I could come over and break some windows for you next Saturday.

(I work cheap, and my brother is a glazier.)

Re:We still do this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091495)

Sorry. His home won't need windows saturday because i come over on friday.

My brother is a home builder. But he already has a window guy.

Skyfall? (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year and a half ago | (#42090981)

Or just a cheap way of deposing old paper(s)?

Re:Skyfall? (1)

johnnyb (4816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091039)

"Yes, those documents have been securely destroyed". It's good to know that it isn't just IT that does security theater.

Re:Skyfall? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092717)

I think you spelled "TSA" wrong.

I call BS on this (5, Insightful)

multiben (1916126) | about a year and a half ago | (#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.

Re:I call BS on this (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091049)

Unless the evidence just *magically* disappears from the hands of the people who collected it and took pictures at the parade, we pretty much have to accept that shredded documents did end up getting tossed around like confetti.

That done, we get into the question of where in the chain from NYPD filing cabinet to document disposal company to recycler, to party supplier some deeply underprocessed documents made it into the final product...

Does NYPD not even cross-cut onsite? Fuck, my workplace does that(paper, HDD, and tape) and we don't exactly have people who infiltrate the mob for a living. Did the 'secure document lifecycle solutions' vendor cut some serious corners? Is there a bulk confetti supplier who is cutting the product with material from the shred stream in order to lower processing costs?

Re:I call BS on this (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091087)

Nassau county police is not the nypd

Re:I call BS on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091101)

Nassau County, not NYPD.

Re:I call BS on this (4, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091171)

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:I call BS on this (2)

multiben (1916126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091281)

Sure, and the so called "government" also puts mind control drugs into the water supply.

Re:I call BS on this (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091785)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9daqPRUWpMc

mind control, you decide.

Thorax 1994;49:984-989 Relation between exposure to fluoride and
bronchial responsiveness in aluminium potroom
workers with work-related asthma-like
symptoms

THE EFFECT OF FLUORIDE ON THE
PHYSIOLOGY OF THE PINEAL GLAND
Jennifer Anne Luke, University of Surrey 1997
PHD thesis

shows that F concentrates upto 10's of thousands of ppm in the pineal gland. High intake causes melatonin to drop more rapidly during maturation, causing the onset of sexual maturation at an earlier age. Young women are having their first menstruation at the age of 8 and 9 now. More so among black and poor communities, in part because of poor nutrition which exacerbates the effects of F and blacks have a much higher rate of lactose intolerance leading to less calcium intake which to some extent reduces its deleterious effects.

the pineal is deeply involved in timing within the body, timing of maturation, timing of menopause, timing of reaction to jetlag and death.

I dare you to read Fluoride the Aging factor by Yiamouyiannis. There have been many nobel prize winning chemists and also in medicine who have spoken out against fluoridation too.

Now ask yourself this question, how much money is behind this. Well considering that the largest industries in the world use massive amounts of HF acid, silicon fabrication, petrol distillation (alkation in particular is all done this way today), phophate fertiliser production upon which all agriculture depends, aluminium production, nuclear isotope separation and concentration. The figure given by Paul connet, www.stlawu.edu/faculty/profiles/connett.html www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo6SnvmMP9k , is i think $$$30 to 50 billion, would be required to dispose of this highly toxic waste otherwise. It is illegal to dump into the ocean under international law.

China, India, and Africa find the practice barbaric as they know well that F in drinking water at a sufficiently high level causes crippling skeletal fluorosis, at a lower level it simply impairs the kidneys ability to concentrate urine, damages the gastro intestinal tract, contributes to asthma, significantly contributes to cardiovascular disease and also arthritis.

Then of course there is the above effect on melatonin synthesis, probably the most potent antioxidant in the body, qualitatively different from almost any other, and which specifically concentrates in the CSF and cell nucleous and mitochrondria.

Have a nice day.

Re:I call BS on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091311)

You really think the 'commercial' document shredder companies do what they say?

The ones that you pay a lot of money to securely destroy your documents and hard drives? Yes, otherwise they are in breach of contract.

Re:I call BS on this (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092227)

Yes, otherwise they are in breach of contract.

But, as a customer, you first have to prove that. But I guess, Nassau PD now has that proof... It will be interesting to watch whether they'll now sue their document disposal company...

Re:I call BS on this (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091393)

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:I call BS on this (2)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092553)

The trucks that collect our paper shred in on the back on the truck. Paper goes in one hole. A window allows viewing of the churned dead trees.

Just saying.

Re:I call BS on this (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091455)

"hard disks you gave them will get shredded as they say? No, it will get taken apart" Nope, they will get sold on Ebay in one piece.

Re:I call BS on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092623)

This happens surprisingly frequently. What's more, the liability may not stop with the disposal company.

This happened in the UK ; a hospital paid a disposal company to destroy some old server drives which contained patient records. A temp employee of the disposal company stole them and sold them on eBay.

The hospital received a 7-figure fine for breach of privacy regulations.

Re:I call BS on this (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092093)

Around here they have shredder trucks that drive around the office buildings once every so often. They have a big bin that pops out on the side, and they have you dump your own documents/items in so they don't have to touch them. Then, there is a viewing window on the back so you can see the piles of ~1cm x ~1cm bits that come out from whatever you just threw in. Unless they're using misdirection and mirrors, I think that's pretty secure.

I honestly don't know what they do with the bits, but several buildings worth of stuff all mixed together lends itself to one hell of a jigsaw puzzle.

Not slicing on-site... (3, Informative)

raehl (609729) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091221)

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 (2)

mlts (1038732) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091363)

It must not be a good shred job if the stuff can be easily put back together.

Consumer level shredders can just use strips about 3/8 of an inch wide. Next level up are some crosscuts which can 1 1/2 inches. From there, you get 1/8" wide cuts of varying crosscuts.

For serious shredding, you get a level 4-6 shredder, or at least a FACTA-compliant one. Those put out pieces small enough that they are more of the size of large glitter, not confetti.

I'm dubious about this too. Most government (city/state/Federal) agencies call the Iron Mountain or other contractor truck (since they do the work and provide a certificate of destruction for CYA reasons), and the shred services don't just use a high quality shredder, they end up pulping the paper in water to ensure that it is not retrievable.

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

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091407)

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:I call BS on this (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092689)

more likely someone did it on purpose. nice leak.

Re:I call BS on this (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091079)

so who was walking around piecing tiny bits of paper together in the middle of the parade?

Ethan Finkelstein .. apparently.

FTFA:

Nassau County Police Department Inspector Kenneth Lack said in a statement the department "is very concerned about this situation." "We will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing our procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents," he said.

I'd guess this guy:

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/lack-kenneth/9/6b4/115 [linkedin.com]

So apparent not a standard internet myth, but an especially well contrived internet myth.

Re:I call BS on this (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091091)

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?

Re:I call BS on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091135)

Now that you've confirmed the documents didn't come from your house, yes.

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

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091147)

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

See this article [wpix.com] .

Re:I call BS on this (2)

complete loony (663508) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091361)

It may not be as hard as you think [slashdot.org] .

They do make non-crosscut shredders (5, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091463)

Not saying there's any validity to this story (it sounds like BS to me) but you can get shredders that shred to various standards. Fellowes sells shredders that are strip cut, cross cut, and micro cut (more or less makes powder). The reason is because the more intense the cut, the less amount of paper a given size of motor can handle. For example take three of their shredders, all with the same basic build and model number. The strip cut version can do 21 sheets at a time, the cross cut 14, the micro cut 10. Same motor, same general construction, only difference is the blade assembly.

It has nothing to do with size either. You can find large ones that are strip cut. Fellowes has a 35 sheet strip cut commercial model they sell (costs about $4k). The more you want the paper cut up, the more blades you have to have, thus the more resistance, thus the less it can handle at once.

As such businesses may choose the higher capacity, but less secure, shredders for some documents. They also cost less to buy.

That's also why micro cut shredders have never become all that popular. Their cost goes up again because of the more blades and they can't handle a lot at once.

DARPA: Reconstructing Cross-cut shred docs: (1)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091707)

There was a DARPA challenge competition just about the feasbility and ability to do this.
The problem is when they might not shred it well enough or finely enough so that it is unrecoverable. Just look at the DARPA Shredder Challenge [wikipedia.org] to see how much can be recovered from shredded documents. The last challenge involved multiple cross-cut shredded documents mixed together.
.
Also, see the movie for another example of the carpet-weaving approach to unshredding strip-shredded documents when you've got enough manpower, even if you multiple documents mixed together. [wikipedia.org]

Re:I call BS on this (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092477)

In the last days of the Staatssicherheit of the former East Germany, many documents were shredded, but now they are reconstructed by scanning the remainings and having a semiautomated process searching through the scans and finding fitting parts to reconstruct the original relations - basicly doing a big puzzle. There are online reports [bstu.bund.de] about it, albeit they are in german.

Re:I call BS on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091169)

Q. Does Macy's tell Gimbels? [barrypopik.com]

A. No, but they tell everyone else!

Re:I call BS on this (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091317)

First of all, I believe Macy's on this.

The three hour parade starts at 77th St and ends at 34th Street.

8,000 marchers.

Including ten marching bands

Clowns. Dancers. Massive floats, outsized, peanut-shaped vehicles and other four-wheeled curiosities.

2 million pedestrians lining the route.

I find it hard to believe that shredded bits of paper are going to survive such a trampling in recognizable form. Harder still to believe that anyone could have collected and reassembled enough pieces of the puzzle to make a story like this seem credible.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Route 2012: Where To Watch In New York City (MAP [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:I call BS on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092177)

Again I'll repeat, you must not have watched it. The Macy float at the end was the only one I saw that used confetti (if you want to call it that). The stuff was about 3-4" long by 1.5-2" wide white paper that was only used on the Macys float at the very end (where the floats or whatever would stop to let the singers/performers do their thing in front of the tv cameras. This confetti went on for around 90 seconds if I remember correctly

Re:I call BS on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091353)

First of all, I believe Macy's on this. Why would you try to save a few bucks by using recycled documents?

You wouldn't. I don't think there is anyone who believes Macy's was directly involved, except for the people above with their wacky theory that secure shredding companies just recycle the shreddings as confetti. Obviously Macy's were not the only ones providing "confetti".

As for the "confetti" it's strips from a straight-cut shredder. Easily readable. They even show you pictures in TFA, for chrissake.

Re:I call BS on this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092157)

I guess you didn't watch the parade ( I had a two and a half year old so we did). The "confetti" I saw was the white confetti used a the end when the Macy's Santa float was there. It was used as "snow" so it was white rather than colored paper and there was a crapload of it coming down. This size of each piece was rather large (a few landed on some of the tv hosts so approximating their size was easy). Now you can't blame Macy's either way as they just purchased the confetti. Blame *needs* to go onto the company who did the shredding and on the police department for not checking what the shredding company was doing with the papers they were handing over to be shredded.

These pieces I saw were about 3 to 4 or so inches long and about 1.5 to 2" wide, large enough to easily read a fair bit of texts on each one and pieces them together (and as I said what I saw was all released in one spot for a period of 90 seconds or so minutes or however long they get to sit at the main stop and preform spot

WTH? (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091041)

Ok, so if the documents were shredded, how was any useful information recovered? The story doesn't say. Hurrah for journalism. Assuming the documents were pieced together, that's a lot of painstaking work by people just standing around. 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.

Re:WTH? (3, Informative)

PNutts (199112) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:WTH? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091417)

And how do we know these documents were mixed with confetti and not simply thrown from one of the thousands of windows which line the parade route? How do we know that these shredded documents were not present on the floor prior to the parade. Or that a parade goer did not grab a garbage bag of shredded documents being loaded into a commercial shredder truck and decide to throw it around?

Re:WTH? (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091771)

Every shredder I've seen for the last decade has been a crosscut shredder instead of the old style.

The shredded paper strips [newsday.com] look like what comes out of the low-end Champion shredder I bought at Office Depot last year. Including the slightly serrated edges. That thing just cuts paper into 8mm strips. As a security device, it's not much.

(I bought one to use as a paper slitter to make 8mm paper tape to be printed on by antique Model 14 Teletypes. It's not a great paper slitter, but running adding machine rolls though it made enough tape to get the Teletypes working.)

Re:WTH? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091275)

From the fact that they saw complete SSNs, names, license plate numbers, and other legible information, it would seem that the documents were fed through an old style, cut-it-into-strips shredder sideways. Otherwise the strips should have been too narrow to actually contain useful information on one strip. So, not only where they shredded poorly but the person feeding the shredder went out of his way to orient the documents in the worst way possible.

The cynic in me thought... (4, Insightful)

arielCo (995647) | about a year and a half ago | (#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]

Umm, police at fault (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091065)

SO, they didn't destroy the documents, and now they're upset about it. Maybe, just maybe, they need to do a better job of destroying sensitive documents.

This has to be B*s* (2)

skyraker (1977528) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091151)

Come on. Anyone with a shredder knows that even if it isn't very good, you have to really make an effort to put information that would cover several lines of a page together into something that is real. And paper flying through the air isn't one of those ways.

All it has to be is printed in landscape (1)

robbak (775424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091357)

If you put a page printed in fine print in landscape, then a lot of text would be legible if put through a strip shredder. Even a cross cut shredder might not be enough to prevent the release of useable data in that case.

So the problem is a cheap strip shredder somewhere in a police station, and someone treating the shredded paper thoughtlessly.
(Not that this story might not be false, but it also could be true.)

Re:This has to be B*s* (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091551)

You might remember that the students in Iran did just that after the coup in 1979. They sat down with a few tons of shredded paper and played it like a huge puzzle.

Sure, it takes a LOT of time and a LOT of work, but you really think the mob has a problem with either?

Cheap solutions (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091223)

Need a shredder?
too much trouble to do a requisition and wait 6 months
go to Wal-Mart
Buy cheap
submit 'expense'
much easier.

Too lazy to empty the trash into the confidential bag?
Dump it out the window on the way out the door.

City will clean it up

Didn't have to 'walk the donut'

gain a pound for retirement

Send to shredder and then burn it all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091229)

Don't even change the facility, actually have an incinerator on sight. Burn anything that needs to be burned, even plastic. fuck the ozone police

Anyone curious about Motive? (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091321)

Was it a Police Officer mad at the department? A criminal who gained access and wanted to undermine the PD? Or was this truly some far fetched accident?

Re:Anyone curious about Motive? (3, Interesting)

cusco (717999) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091573)

More likely simple stupidity. The local public utility district used to shred their documents and give them away to local horse farmers for use as bedding. Someone fed some customer data into the shredder the wrong way, and the stable it went to belonged to a local newspaper editor. Of course it became front page news, now the district has to pay to get stuff shredded and the horse breeders no longer get free bedding.

Re:Anyone curious about Motive? (1)

libtek (902569) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091637)

<quote>Was it a Police Officer mad at the department? A criminal who gained access and wanted to undermine the PD? Or was this truly some far fetched accident?</quote>

Yikez! (The NY Mafia still real, lol? {Or Anonymous? [Or Occupy Movement? O_o ]}) Yowzerz!

Re:Anyone curious about Motive? (2)

Shag (3737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092193)

I'm pondering which villain from Batman would do this sort of thing.

Anyone considered it was deliberate? (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091539)

Especially if the organizer of the parade claims they use commercial confetti, and bluntly, why shouldn't they, considering that it's one thing less to think about and it most certainly isn't one of the big numbers on the bill.

Can anyone see a snitch working in the cleaning crew responsible for cleaning out the shredded papers using the parade to hand some info out to his friends? He cannot access sensitive material, of course, and if he took home a few cubic meters of shredded paper someone might wonder what's going on, but grabbing it and dumping it out during the parade, nobody would notice.

All you need is a man in the cleaning crew for after the parade. Thinking of it ... all you really need to get this rolling is a company specializing in cleaning... Anyone looked into this?

Re:Anyone considered it was deliberate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092373)

I think your tinfoil hat is too tight and you should take it off, conspiracy theories like these are just overly complicated and bat shit crazy.

Re:Anyone considered it was deliberate? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42092709)

That's what makes them so funny. Hey, why not make a movie script out of it, what would be the next sequel to Die Hard?

"Based on a true story"

Scrap paper (5, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091627)

Police in my state got into trouble once for printing out license and registration data and using the printouts as scrap paper in their front office, so if they had to write something down for a member of the public they might get somebody else's details on the back.

anecdotal Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42091649)

Like from police academy movie.

Darpa Shredder Challenge & outsourcing+unshred (3, Informative)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#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 [wikipedia.org] to see how much can be recovered from shredded documents.
Also, see the movie Argo [wikipedia.org] for another example of the carpet-weaving approach to unshredding strip-shredded documents when you've got enough manpower.

Hmm... (1)

sixtyeight (844265) | about a year and a half ago | (#42091941)

If I had access to confidential police records, including undercover cops, and wanted to sell it, I might arrange a distribution method such as this.

It's a good thing that nobody with significant amounts of money has an interest in determining the identities of undercover cops.

Cross shredded, burned and certified. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42092021)

Or at least that's how the rest of the world does it...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>