Shredders today are used to destroy documents that could result in disastrous consequences if they ever landed in the wrong hands. Ever since their introduction to the market in the 1950s, shredders have done a lot to fight the scourge known as identity theft. But during those days, identity theft was the least of their worries.
During the Cold War, the shredder of the time became the weapon of choice for two conflicting ideologies: capitalism and communism. Both sides wanted to get a glimpse of what was going on at each other’s side, but they didn’t want each other to know that they dropped by. The primary function of the shredder at the time was to destroy evidence of any espionage activity or any attempt to undermine each other’s organization. It was, in a manner of speaking, a war fought with shredders.
Take East and West Germany for example; the only thing that kept them apart was the 96-mile-long, 12-foot-high Berlin Wall. Not even slabs of concrete were sufficient to keep spies on either side from seeing what the other side was up to. Evidence of espionage in Germany at the time was fully supported by the discovery of 16,000 garbage bags containing shredded documents.
These were called the Stasi files, named after the Ministry of State Security for East Germany which was called the Stasi. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Stasi tried to shred any files pertaining to their espionage activities in West Germany. However, their shredders hardly got the job done; and the Stasi personnel were forced to tear the papers with their bare hands.
People today are aware that spies came in and out of their respective sides in a game of ‘who can bring back the more credible intelligence.’ The Cold War might be long over, but the Stasi learned well not to entrust confidentiality to shredders that didn’t even work. Many California firms there take information security to the next level with shredding services Los Angeles can provide. If the Stasi had succeeded in shredding all their documents, the history of espionage during the Cold War would be even cloudier.
Fortunately, there are no World Wars for the world to fight for now. The shredder has proven its importance in history as a tool to defend national security; eventually finding applications in business and industrial espionage. Had shredding services Los Angeles and in other parts of the world existed during the Cold War, things would have been different.
To know more about the efforts to decode the Stasi files, read the article at Time.com. For more information security solutions, don’t hesitate to ask shredding services Los Angeles businesses rely on.
Playing the ‘Getting Rid of Evidence’ Game