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January 11, 2016

A Complete History of Confidential Document Shredding, Part II

Reflecting on part I of the history of paper shredding, it is generally understood that Adolf Ehinger created the first modern paper shredder, though American inventor Abbott Augustus Low patented a similar idea decades before. These monumental inventions were the foundation for the machines that are in nearly every Indianapolis office building today, as well as the large commercial machines. The paper shredding machine plays a critical role in security, and is credited with protecting the sensitive information of millions on a daily basis.

Though these first prototypes were extremely important, they were expanded on and reinvented time and time again. Here is the continued history of the paper shredding.

The History of Scandals

Paper shredding machines were hardly mainstream after Ehinger presented his invention, though they were most definitely used. They were loud, awkward tools, but they got the job done. Their job was to destroy evidence, render old documents unreadable and, nearly 40 years after the recognized invention of the shredding machine, it was put up to its first major test: The Watergate Scandal. Former FBI spy Gordon Liddy used a paper shredding machine to get rid of incriminating evidence regarding to the break-in that occurred at the Democratic National Party headquarters in 1972.

Nearly 15 years after this incident, Lt. Col. Oliver North, a National Security Council aide, destroyed documents relating to the Iran-Contra scandal. While paper shredders were destroying sensitive information regularly, some machines were not doing it well enough. This led to security leaks and indictments of those who were trying to erase important incidences.

Iran and Their Paper Puzzle

Perhaps one of the most embarrassing moments in shredding history occurred in 1979 at the American Embassy in Iran. The embassy was seized, officials and employees were taken hostage and important documents were stolen. Many classified papers had already been shredded. Unfortunately, the simple vertical stripes were no match for the skilled women carpet weavers who were tasked with putting the paper pieces back together.

This security leak was massive, and led to a new standard for paper shredding. It was now understood that thorough document destruction was an important part of proficient security. These same standards are still the guidelines today, though they are constantly being reviewed and stricter guidelines considered.

The improper destruction of files and documents can lead to serious security risks for your Indianapolis business. While you can take on the task of staying up-to-date on the newest laws regarding paper shredding, it would likely be easier to hire a professional company to do so for you. If you would like more information, we encourage you to visit our services page, or contact a representative at PROSHRED® Indianapolis today.

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