Tiny strips of paper rained down from the sky during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it appears some confetti might be part of a recycling effort gone awry. Bits of information seen on the strips included Mitt Romney’s motorcade, social security and license plate numbers and other private information of the Nassau County Police Department’s own employees.
WPIX reported parade goer Ethan Finkelstein, a Tuft’s University freshman home for the holiday, saying he noticed a strip of paper with what looked like a social security number on a friend’s coat. Considering it “bizarre,” he and his friends began looking at the rest of the confetti around them:
“There are phone numbers, addresses, more social security numbers, license plate numbers and then we find all these incident reports from police.”
One confetti strip indicates that it’s from an arrest record, and other strips offer more detail. “This is really shocking,” Finkelstein said. “It says, ‘At 4:30 A.M. a pipe bomb was thrown at a house in the Kings Grant’ area.”
Most significant, the confetti strips identified Nassau County detectives by name. Some of them are apparently undercover. Their social security numbers, dates of birth and other highly sensitive personal information was also printed on the confetti strips.
Watch the WPIX report for more:
Newsday reported police spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack saying in a statement that the department is “very concerned about this situation.” The police department is conducting an investigation into the incident as well as its disposal procedures of confidential information as a whole.
Macy’s told WPIX that this confetti was not part of its official parade. Its spokesperson said they use commercially produced, colored paper pieces for its finale.
It is still unknown who threw the confidential confetti.
Keeping shredded confidential documents from the wrong hands is something the military has been researching. The defense department’s research arm DARPA last year offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who could piece together the shreds in its challenge in an effort to learn more about document security.