9,000 teams registered for the shot at $50,000, but it took one three-man team just 33 days to solve DARPA's Shredder Challenge, a contest to read destroyed documents. San Francisco-based "All Your Shreds Are Belong to U.S." took the prize two days before the close of the competition, exhibiting the ability to blend computer vision algorithms and human know-how to reconstruct five different documents that had been run through a paper shredder and converted to more than 10,000 total pieces of paper.
The Shredder Challenge was announced in late October, seeking teams with the technical expertise to reconstruct destroyed documents and extract information from them quickly. To prove they could do this effectively, teams not only had to reconstruct the five documents, but also to solve puzzles embedded in them. And they had just more than a month to do so.
The winning team--consisting of a mobile phone software developer, the creator of the smartphone translation tool Word Lens, and a satellite software expert from Lockheed Martin--completed the puzzles officially on Friday. While we don't get to know the specifics on how they did so, we're told their winning algorithm used computer vision to define things like the shapes of rips and marks on each piece of paper to help match it to others in the pile. And we know there was some degree of human interaction involved, though to what degree is unclear. What is clear is that shredding documents isn't as safe a method of destroying sensitive info as it once was.
DARPA's wants to give warfighters and intelligence operators the ability to quickly extract valuable information from documents recovered or confiscated in war zones and elsewhere, as well as to probe America's document destruction protocols for weaknesses. Just 600 man-hours and $50,000 later, the agency is well on its way.
this is why i shred then burn my papers
If your going to burn them, why shred them. Isn't that a little bit of a waste of time? I mean, if your going to do that, why don't you add in the time to redact any sensitive information. Shred them. Douse them in lighter fluid. Set it on fire. Bury the ashes.
The only people to dig them up and reconstruct them at that point would be the Vogon's.
Now all they have to do is ban the burning of paper, which will be easy to push since it releases more CO2 per pound than gasoline (which is all those Summit nuts need to be told), and "All Your Shreds Are Belong to U.S.".
Privacy died in the 50's.
Hope bad people don't read this and change how they destroy documents.
We used to have what might be called a garbage disposal for stuff. It was a big insinkerator that mulched paper in water. I dare them to reconstruct that. The paper ended up as goo.
It is common practice for the military to micro power shred documents and yes shredded them too, all while being supervised and verified.
Now stop the government and military to stop letting "camera" cell phones run everywhere.
What good is shredding, when a picture can be done so easy and sent on the internet, sheesh!
It will only be later, after a gigantic mistakes happens that this problem will be fixed.
I hate crisis management! It is so idiotic!
Science sees no further than what it can sense.
Religion sees beyond the senses.
OLD NEWS!! The German Intelligence agency had this for years already in order to puzzle through the shredded old East German documents. The U.S.A asked Germany for it but they didn't get it so they had to do it themselves. And as I understand it the BND version is faster, ALOT faster.
So make a shredder than bakes on some toner before shredding, or alternatively, possibly even in addition too, slightly chars the edges/discolors the paper before it falls into the collection bin. Would be far more difficult to match up pieces if several parts of the data are less presented.
I'm sure the biggest purpose behind this challenge was to expose weaknesses in our current SOP for destroying documents. Security is a continuous operation. It makes a lot of sense, the government just spent about $50,000 on a project and had results back in 30 days. If the government had tasked one of the several intelligence agencies to produce similar results the bill would have been 10x larger and the results would have taken 10x as long to achieve.
i agree, an incredible and cheaply done project, double cheers
I shred then compost it.
Also were these 'criss cross' shredders that turn the paper in to tiny squares?
Big deal. All classified documents are required to be burned anyways. This is more to expose security risks for companies wanting to protect proprietary or private info.
@ Cybegor the shredded papers burn better and also makes good filler for crafts and paper bricks as well
NOW the next step. making a paper shredder so elective that this device (method) can not put the pieces back together.
other than fire ofcourse. since you cant burn thing right there in the office.
they need to be shredded first, before taken outside to an incenrotr I assume.
When I was in the military, we had a cross cut shredder for our classified documents. This was the late '90s by the way. It would shred paper into little diamond shapes approx 2mm x 3mm. The edges were clean. This is much, much smaller than the strips used in this competition. I doubt that this method could be used to reassemble a document shredded to that extent. The shredded pieces are smaller than the letters on the page.
I would hate to be the person that has to separate a million or so of these little diamonds face down to be scanned.
Just use an acid bath with an exhaust scrubber. Let someone try putting that back together.
@quasi44 Just eat it you mean?