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Is It Possible to Reassemble a Shredded Document?

The easy answer is yes! Not what you expected to hear?

In 2009, federal prosecutors reassembled documents from Stanford Financial Group after they had been passed through a shredder.

Students took over the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979, which is the event that sparked the Iranian hostage crisis. As the emergency unfolded, embassy workers, including CIA officers, locked themselves in a vault so they could burn or shred the sensitive documents that were inside, according to BBC News. Then they gave themselves up, thinking they had saved the documents from falling into the hands of those who wanted to do harm to America. But had they? Unfortunately, the Iranians did seize the shredded papers and spent years reassembling them, according to BBC. They laid out all of the shreds out on a floor and came up with a system of numbering and indexing each individual shred. The reassembled documents were later published as a book in Tehran.

In 2002, the former FBI agent William Daly took about an hour to reassemble a shredded page from the dictionary on Good Morning America.

Trump Literally Shredded Presidential Records, and no, he wasn’t supposed to do that. The Washington Post reports that in an unbelievable-yet-completely-believable turn of events, “some of the Trump White House records” handed over to the January 6 committee “had been ripped up and then taped back together,” according to people familiar with the matter.

Last week, a staff member at Knight Archives reconstructed a Canadian T4 form that had been shredded by a typical office shredder.

These examples are proof positive that shredded paper can be reconstructed. Some shredding is harder to piece back together than others. Some organizations have faith in cross-cut shredders, but though it may be more difficult, the pieces can be put back together. Cross-Cut shredders can be bought for the home or office, but these are usually quite expensive, and the issue of where shredded pieces are kept is still present. You may think your information is safe once it has been shredded, but the reality is you are most likely placing it at the curb to be picked up and this provides easy access for someone looking to access your information.

New programs and apps are surfacing all the time to make this process easier.

According to Slate, a typical computer program will feed the shreds into a scanner. Then, a document reconstruction software creates an ID number and distinguishes characteristics of each shred taking things like size, colour, and font into consideration. It then identifies potential neighboring paper shreds.

All it takes is time.

Knight Archives can give of peace of mind by securely shredding your important documents and then recycling them into brown paper products. Besides making your organization’s paper destruction secure you are saving trees and the environment.

Contact Knight Archives for quotes and scheduling. 905-563-0847