GDR, The Stasi and the shreading of documents

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Bravo2nothing, Feb 15, 2008.

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  1. An interesting artical on the behaviour of the Stasi during the fall of the Berlin Wall. It appears efforts are now being made to use technology to recover shredded files.

    Whilst not particularly relevant, I believe the technology could be put to use in uncovering who knew what is the 'Cash for Honours' affair.....Take note Bliar!!
  2. Funny old world. I was speaking to a Jerry HPTMann yesterday re this very subjest (shredded docs)and he told me " we already have one" and it even scans in real shredded documents and that the US had bought it as well.
  3. Read the book 'Stasiland'by Anna Funder, a brilliant book about, er, the Stasi ,and their enormous effect on East German society. Touches on the subject of the destruction of the Stasi files, and how teams of women, the so called 'Puzzle Women', are employed solely to piece the destroyed files together. An utterly compelling read, one of the best books I have read in recent times.

    I hope that they are made available on the internet some day, now that would be fascinating...
  4. By the time of the East German (GDR) collapse in 1989, it is estimated that the secret police (Ministry of State Security; MfS or Stasi) had 91,000 full time employees and 300,000 informants.

    Approximately one in fifty East Germans collaborated with the Stasi, possibly the highest penetration of any society by a security apparatus.

    As a result of this collaboration, the Stasi built up an enormous archive containing files on over six million individuals. During the final days of the GDR regime, the Stasi desperately tried to destroy the archive before it could be seized by opponents.

    Civil rights activists interrupted the destruction of the files — and a subsequent looting by the CIA.

    The newly unified German government formed the Federal Commissioner for Stasi Files (BStU) to manage the files and respond to requests by German citizens and journalists for Stasi records.

    In addition to intact files, a total of 16,250 sacks containing around 45 million shredded pages were rescued. However it wasn't until May 2007 that a computerised reassembly method was developed capable of dealing such a volume of material. The digital reassembly is predicted to take 4-5 years to complete. During the process many former East German spies and informers are expected to be uncovered.

    By the beginning of 2007 the BStU had responded to over six million "Stasi file" record requests.

    However from November 2006 allegations started to circulate, most notably in the German news paper Die Welt that the BStU, tasked to guard the Stasi files, had been infiltrated by a number of former Stasi officers and informers. In response the German government commissioned an investigation.

    By June 2007, the investigative team, led by Prof. Hans Hugo Klien, a former judge of the German Federal Constitution Court and CDU politician, had completed its confidential report into the infiltration.

    The report is here - it's in German but very interesting.
  5. Incredible,I had no idea about that. I suppose old habits die hard!
  6. typical boxheads filed the shredded files
    instead of burning them :twisted:
  7. Those files turned up some interesting information about western collaborators back in the 90s and there is a presumtion that they will reveal more. Watch your back's New Labour.
  8. I can't think of their names,but are any of the Labour backbenchers who are alleged to have had links with HVA/MfS still alive/in the house?

    Mitrokhin archive shed some light on these subject too I believe.
  9. I can remember reading about when the public stormed the Stasi compunds and went looking for the files archives. Apparently they were only looking for the files on themselves so in one building some bright spark in the General Reconnaissance Administration - the foreign intelligence division of the Stasi - simply stuck a note on the door to the department saying something along the lines of 'Foreign Division' and everyone charged right past.

    Oh yes. Most ex-Stasi officers joined the Gesellschaft zur Rechtlichen und Humanitären Unterstützung e. V. (Society for Legal and Humanitarian Support) (GRH) and stay pretty politically active. They receive a fair amount of support from the Communist Party as well and are active lobbying for and against on a number of issues.
  10. Since the days of the German Workers Paradise, the big change has been the introduction of email and this may be the downfall of the Cash for Honours crowd. As far as I know, every email sent can be intercepted and stored by the echelon network but as this is controlled by the US/UK governments plus to a lesser extent by Canada/Australia/NZ I doubt if much damaging will surface from there.

    Once, whilst working for a Defence related company that employed lots of computer whizz kids, I was asked to wipe everything off a computer hard drive. I used a proprietary piece of software to do this. A whizz kid played about with the pc for a minute or so then showed me what he had found on it. I was amazed and understood why the company always removed all hard drives from old computers and destroyed them in house instead of the preferred Government method of leaving hem under pub tables or on the back seat of cars in the European City of Culture.
  11. There are various different methods of recovering data from old machines.

    If you think of deleting a file as removing the entry in the index of a book. Just because the entry has been removed, doesn't mean the page has.

    Removal, burning or physical distruction of the disk is the only way to ensure that it is unrecoverable.
  12. Oh yeah, the only truly guaranteed way to wipe a hard disk is by taking it out of the computer and having it melted down. Friend of mine that used to work for a bank over in the US used to have to remove the hard disks from any computers they were selling, degauss them before taking them out of the building and then have to take them along and personally witness (along with a second guy) them being physically destroyed. Unlike the MoD they actually took their data security seriously. :)
  13. I purchased a used laptop off of ebay and recovered ALOT of information off of the machine.

    I also bought some disk arrays from an ebay seller that once recovered, showed that the arrays once belonged to EGG. Interesting information on those.