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San Francisco Team Wins DARPA's De-Shredding Contest 94

Posted by timothy
from the california-v-greenwood-1988 dept.
New submitter karlnyberg writes with an update to the recently announced de-shredding challenge posted by DARPA: "The team 'All Your Shreds Are Belong To U.S.' has correctly solved all five puzzles, and the Challenge has now ended. You may view the winning team's submissions as well as the complete puzzle solutions by following the links on our homepage. We recognize that many of our participants have devoted countless hours to painstakingly piecing our puzzles back together, and we truly appreciate everyone's efforts. Hopefully you enjoyed the Challenge and learned something new along the way. We certainly did!"
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San Francisco Team Wins DARPA's De-Shredding Contest

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  • Jackasses (Score:5, Interesting)

    by masternerdguy (2468142) on Friday December 02, 2011 @07:47PM (#38245602)
    Thanks for helping the government spy on me.
  • by AceJohnny (253840) <jlargentayeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 02, 2011 @07:56PM (#38245694) Journal

    Vernor Vinge's 2006 novel Rainbow's End [wikipedia.org] explained how a library was being digitized by shredding all the books, thus destroying the analog knowledge.

    One step closer...

  • As I said before... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday December 02, 2011 @08:09PM (#38245850) Homepage Journal
    I don't see this being very useful for overseas operations. They mentioned before this would be good for recovering documents shredded by "warlords' operations" but that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Many of the warlords we are most concerned about right now have such a dramatically different sense of morality than our own that they use rape as a weapon - or tool, really - of war.

    Why, then, would we expect them to use a shredder for their documents, when they can much more easily set fire to the documents? No amount of de-shredding is going to put back together documents that have been incinerated.

    I suspect we are much more likely to see this used by the FBI than the CIA or DOD.
  • by De Lemming (227104) on Friday December 02, 2011 @08:50PM (#38246224) Homepage

    Here's a nice explanation of the participant which reassembled four of the five documents, finishing in third place.

    You should probably start burning your mail: What I learned from the DARPA Shredder Challenge [marcnewlin.com].

  • Re:Jackasses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday December 02, 2011 @09:19PM (#38246464) Homepage Journal
    The stories about them placing GPS modules in cars because the people bothered to make jokes on the internet or happened to be related to a criminal say otherwise.

    And in this day and age, everybody's a criminal. The FBI follow up on every anonymous tip sent to them online, and no matter what you tell them, they will follow you around until you're officially deemed uninteresting. Then they'll check up on you every now and then just to make sure. And they will dig up something on you that will justify their interest.

    This is what happens when elite law enforcement agencies operate like profit-seeking enterprises, instead of serving and protecting the people. It's bust, bust, bust as long as they make their numbers and get a bigger budget.
  • Re:opportunity (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Friday December 02, 2011 @09:36PM (#38246582) Journal

    Not really. There are already tons of better shredders, and they don't cost a whole lot. I bought one that cuts pieces into little diamond-shaped bits about 1/3 of the size of the shreds shown in the DARPA challenge. It cost me about $125 at an office supply store.

    The one that is at my office, for non-classified documents, cuts into little squares about 2mm x 2mm. The one for the Confidential documents does a better job that that. Most of the stuff looks like powder instead of shreds.

    Anyway, this isn't about spy vs spy stuff. It is for basic corporate and citizen espionage. How simple is it to piece together stuff you grab from drug dealers and other criminals who bought a shredder at an office supply store?

  • Re:simplified test (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday December 02, 2011 @09:41PM (#38246620)

    The test was actually much simpler than any real-world application might be. Each puzzle was really only one or two (or a few) shredded pages, with various degrees of shredding and various bits of writing.

    Yes and no. The finest shred was actually pretty close to the current DOD spec of 1mm x 5mm for classified documents. You'll find that most sensitive but not classified shredders shred into much larger pieces, somewhere in the middle of the range given in the contest. You are correct that a typical shred bag has a large quantity of shredded pages mixed together.

    Still DARPA got what they wanted - ideas on how to approach this problem. I doubt crowd sourcing is a viable option for them, but it was interesting to see the method.

  • Re:Jackasses (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday December 03, 2011 @01:01AM (#38247484) Homepage Journal

    I was arrested for making a donut joke in front of an undercover cop once.

    Seriously.

    Well, that's not what they SAID though. They said it was "disorderly conduct."

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