Wired News: Scanners Uncover Germany’s Past

This is why you should at least get cross-cutting shredders to do the job…

BERLIN — German scientists said Monday they have developed a computer system to reconstruct millions of files on informants torn up by the East German secret police — within years rather than centuries.

After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Stasi security police tore up into jigsaw puzzle-size pieces documents on their huge network, which include meticulous observations on East Germans and foreigners deemed a threat to the state. About 15 people have been working at the Berlin archive for Stasi documents meticulously piecing together scraps by hand.