The Case of the Confidential Police Confetti

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

Confetti rained down upon people who had gathered in New York City to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday. Some onlookers were surprised—and alarmed—when they discovered shredded police documents among the colorful confetti that had fallen from above. The documents contained confidential information that was still legible. The “police confetti” included the “social security numbers and banking information for police employees, some of whom are undercover officers.”

Tufts University freshman Ethan Finkelstein and a friend noticed that a strip of confetti that had landed on his friend’s shoulder had stuck to her coat. Finkelstein was concerned—“so he and his friends picked up more of the confetti that had fallen around them.” Finkelstein said, “There are phone numbers, addresses, more social security numbers, license plate numbers and then we find all these incident reports from police.”

A closer look at the shredded documents showed that they had come from the Nassau County Police Department. Nassau police have promised to investigate the situation. Inspector Kenneth Lack, a spokesman for the Nassau County Police, said the department is “very concerned about the situation. We will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing our procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents.” The statement from the Nassau County Police Department did not address who shreds sensitive police documents or who carts them away.

According to Newsday, the “police documents were shredded into narrow horizontal strips running the width of the page — one of the least secure methods.”

Evidently, this isn’t the first time confidential information has rained down as confetti on the streets of New York. Earlier this year, during the Super Bowl Parade for the Giants along the Canyon of Heroes, confetti dropped from some office buildings included “unshredded paper containing personal information and records, including Social Security numbers and medical records.”

Wouldn’t you think that people responsible for the shredding and disposal of documents that include confidential information like people’s social security numbers and medical records could find a better way to do it?

SOURCES

Shredded Police Documents Found At Macy’s 2012 Thanksgiving Day Parade (Huffington Post)

PIX EXCLUSIVE: Confidential Police Docs Found in Macy’s Parade Confetti Spark Investigation (WPIX)

Secret police documents become Thanksgiving parade confetti (Newsday)

Shredded police reports found as confetti at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (NBC News)

Oops. Confetti at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Was Made of Still-Readable Confidential Police Docs (Gawker)

Confetti made from shredded police documents found at Macy’s parade (Examiner)

Report: ‘Confetti’ Dropped During Giants Parade Contained Confidential Information (CBS)

19 thoughts on “The Case of the Confidential Police Confetti

  1. I saw the headline earlier today and just figured it was something toxic, meaning chemical, not toxic to people because their security has been compromised.

  2. Well . . . yes, technically it was Homer, but pete did all the heavy lifting. I’m pretty sure Homer would have a problem embedding video. :D

  3. This is not do humorous to the officers family….. It is funny in the sense that it was not burnt….. Well some of he CIs were….. Oh well….. A rats a rat….

  4. As confetti !!! We won’t need no stinkin constitution if a 3rd Bush wins.

    “Dictatorships ain’t so bad as long as a Bush gets to be Dictator”

    (something like that)

  5. Shred and burn? That would be too sensible. Maybe they could have tasered it. I hope the young men who brought this to light live far away.
    There will be anger, not at the stupidity of using such material but someone telling the press about it.

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