US authorities are investigating how sensitive documents including some containing details of a visit to New York by former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney ended up being used as ticker tape during Macy’s famous Thanksgiving parade.
The annual Macy’s parade, which took place in Manhattan on 22 November, should have been a straightforward celebration of a US public holiday in traditional and spectacular New York style.
Locals attending the parade later said that some of the ticker tape at certain points along the route contained a range of confidential police data, including in a bizarre twist, some on Romney’s previous visit to the city.
Readable data reported included social security and bank account numbers of Long Island’s Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) officers and employees, phone numbers, license plate numbers and even police incident reports.
In an almost comic twist, some shredded documents related to Mitt Romney’s motorcade to and from the final Presidential TV debate he attended on 16 October.
“That would have to come from our headquarters,” a police source was quoted as telling the New York Post.
“They have stuff that’s supposed to be shredded and go to burn piles. It sounds like some of it ended up where it wasn’t supposed to be.”
Pictures taken at the parade show long strips of paper containing sometimes easily readable information lying in large heaps on the ground.
The breach is probably more embarrassing than serious. At the very least it is a useful reminder that not all sensitive data exists in a digital form.