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Whenever I am out on the street, abroad or at home, working or on holiday I always spot funny in-secure situations and take a photo if possible. Below are just four stories on the lines of outsourced shredders and there are many more stories on other topics including photos.

Story #1 outsourced on-site shredding into massive chunks
At a place I was working at in London they had 2-3 shredder bins on each floor and they were always locked though at times overflowing which meant you could pinch paper out of them. Every week or two a lorry would come along and a security guard would escort the driver to collect each shredder bin in the building and take it to the lorry in the gated car park. One day I asked facilities how does this work and they gave me the name of the company. It was a big company with ISO 27001, ISO 9001 and two other ISO’s related to environmental standards. Great I thought – not that I fully respect companies which are certified.

One day facilities called me down and said do you want to watch the shredder lorry. I saw the driver of the lorry and asked him how does this work. He replied: I take the paper bins downstairs, shred everything and it gets bundled up. He demonstrated the size the chunks come out as and I was shocked. I watched the process and as he said the end chunks were about 3-5cms x 3-5cms or bigger. Thus, a A4 sheet would be chopped up in to about 30-40 pieces which is not very hard to re-assemble. The bundles would then be sold off to be turned into fresh paper. What is there to learn from this? Do not just employ a company because they have pieces of papers to make them look secure. Watch their method on-site or off-site.

Story #2 unlocked and unattended collection lorry

I spotted this in West London outside a medium sized accountants and solicitors firm on a high street. The back shutters were open and there was no driver to be seen, all for 30 mins or more. Free confidential papers anyone?/!

Story #3 unlocked and unattended collection lorry
Taken in Mayfair/St. James Park in the very wealthy West End. This is similar to story #2 plus you can pinch a free photocopier if you want to!

Story #4 shredder bags awaiting for collection next to the front door of a shared office
On this occasion it was unlikely to be the fault of the outsourced shredding company. At a shared office near Aldgate station there were ten bags or so of confidential papers awaiting pickup. The problem was they were sitting next to the front door which was likely open. Again, anyone could pinch them if they wished.