About a month ago, DARPA challenged all the geeks in the USA to come together and figure out a way to reconstruct shredded documents. At the time, even digital experts thought because of the time frame, difficulty, and monetary incentive, the technology was not going to work, but out of many, came a team based out of San Francisco named All Your Shreds Are Belong To U.S. AYSABTUS figured out exactly how to beat the challenge.
The team took over 10,000 individual pieces of paper and reconstructed the shreds back into something that made sense. They used a combination of computer vision algorithms, and human eyeballs with over 600 man hours both to reconstruct the documents using software and physically starring at a mixed up combination of shredded papers to finally get them to fit together. If the papers didn’t make sense, they would loop the system until they found a matching fitting combination.
The team took home a $50,000 prize, DARPA took home a new de-shredding system, and everyone is happy. So now that the government is able to reconstruct anything you shred, your only alternative is to dissolve it in water, or burn it. I guess it’s only a matter of time before they challenge people to reconstruct those as well.