Feeds

Shredded Stasi documents could be pieced together in five years

Jigsaw puzzle

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Mobile application security vulnerability report

The last secrets of the East German State Security Service (Stasi), torn into shreds and stored in 16,000 brown sacks, may soon be pieced together by a software program developed by the Fraunhofer Institute.

On Monday, the Institute said it would take five years to solve the world's biggest jigsaw puzzle electronically. If done by hand, the operation would take several hundred years.

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Stasi agents at the Magdeburg archives were ordered by their chief Erich Mielke to destroy tens of thousands of files about (former) Stasi informants and their victims. But the agents were unable to find the transport needed to take away the shredded documents and create a huge bonfire.

When East Germans stormed the Stasi buildings, they managed to rescue 16,000 brown paper sacks with shredded documents. Then civil servants, armed with adhesive tape and endless patience, began to reassemble thousands of files.

The program developed by the Berlin Frauhofer Institute, along with Design Technology (IPK) and Lufthansa Systems, will speed up this procedure significantly, by matching the paper fragments and order them correctly.

To do so, all shreds need to be scanned in full colour first. Fortunately, that’s a no-brainer for Lufthansa Systems.
One of the biggest providers of outsourcing solutions for electronic document processing and archiving in Europe, Lufhthans processes up to 100 million documents each year.

The major problem with the Stasi fragments, however, is that they are very small and have no square corners, Gunter Küchler, managing director of Lufthansa Systems Group GmbH, explained. This means that each shred needs to be inserted into plastic pockets so that the automatic scanning equipment can accept them.

It is not clear when the operation will actually begin. On Monday the Fraunhofer Institute and Lufthansa merely presented a feasibility study. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
THUD! WD plonks down SIX TERABYTE 'consumer NAS' fatboy
Now that's a LOT of porn or pirated movies. Or, you know, other consumer stuff
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
FLAPE – the next BIG THING in storage
Find cold data with flash, transmit it from tape
Seagate chances ARM with NAS boxes for the SOHO crowd
There's an Atom-powered offering, too
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.