A Tufts University freshman made a troubling discovery while watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York: among the confetti that were being thrown around while the floats and balloons were passing were also shredded documents containing very sensitive information.
The 18-year-old Ethan Finkelstein was watching the parade with a friend, and at one point they noticed a strip of confetti stuck onto her coat. They picked it up and examined it, and discovered that it contained numbers and the acronym “SSN.”
They realized that the number was likely a social security number, and decided to gather more of the confetti laying around. They discovered that some contained entire phone numbers, addresses, more social security numbers, license plate numbers and other confidential information.
Others contained information regarding police incident reports and police controlled events. But the worst part is that others still held sensitive information about undercover police officers.
The logo and the information on the shredded documents made it possible to tie them to the Nassau County Police Department, which polices parts of Long Island.
It is currently unknown how they ended up at the parade, but after having been notified of the matter, the Nassau County Police Department stated that they will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing their procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents.
Macy says that they used only commercially manufactured multicolor confetti for the parade, and it’s technically possible that someone just threw the shredded police documents from a window overlooking its route.
But even if that was what happened, the questions remain: who did it, and why?