back to article Computer saves shredded Stasi files

East German historians have employed the help of a computer program to reconstruct 16,000 sacks of shredded paper that once documented the snooping of the Stasi police. The job was previously done by hand, with a team of 30 workers piecing together 350 sacks of shreds since 1991, The Guardian reports. The team estimated that at …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data Protection

    So the Stasi kept files that we today would consider a breach of privacy.


    So the Stasi destroyed the files.


    And now we're reconstructing documents that detail the minutiae of the private lives (including sexual proclivities) of countless citizens, many of whom are doubtless still alive?!?!?

    So next time the government or any public agency deletes my records (as if they ever do), I get my secrets back -- for however long it takes for some future historian to decide to reconstruct the government files of the Third Way Reich in order to better document their crimes.

    Ah, God bless privacy.

  2. Joe

    Crime and secrecy

    But not just anyone can read the files, so they're not made completely public. Even when a citizen gets to read their own file, parts of it are anonymised so that secrets not relevant to their own case aren't revealed.

    The main reason is that there are many unsolved crimes that the Stasi committed, including murder.

    If someone close to me had disappeared in the GDR, I'd be waiting for the results with baited breath!

  3. Guy

    Shredding documents

    are these the same people that encourage us to shred all personal documents, so that they may not be used for identity fraud, yet here we have a set of people who are deliberately trying to reverse this?

    Where were they for Enron and Anderson

  4. Tyson Boellstorff

    First shred, then burn, then leave your, erm, 'calling card' in the bin

    I don't know whose bright idea it was that thought that just shredding sensitive docs made them safe. Burning has to happen, or you have to make the shredded documents a less attractive source of private information. It's like running away from a bear -- you don't have to be faster than the bear -- just faster than your red-shirted friend.

  5. Dennis

    Shredding or torn?

    "600 million shreds from 45 million documents"

    That's thirteen shreds for each document. That's not shredding, that's simply tearing it up.

    To be effective you need a cross-cut shredder. A shredder that produces pieces of paper the size of a Didcot {cf. The Meaning of Liff].

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