Confidential Information in Macy's Parade Confetti Sparks Investigation

Monday, 26 Nov 2012 02:31 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Authorities are probing disturbing claims that shredded paper used as confetti during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade contained highly sensitive data including Social Security numbers, bank account information, and police documents.

Ethan Finkelstein, a 18-year-old Tufts University student, told WPIX-TV that as he and a female friend watched the parade along Central Park West near 65th Street in Manhattan last Thursday, they noticed a piece of confetti stuck to her coat.

"It landed on her shoulder," Finkelstein told PIX11 News, "and it says 'SSN' and it's written like a Social Security number, and we're like, 'That's really bizarre.'’’

They examined more pieces of the confetti, he said, and “there are phone numbers, addresses, more Social Security numbers, license plate numbers, and then we find all these incident reports from police."

The information appeared to be from the Nassau County Police Department.

One confetti strip, apparently from a police report, said: “At 4:30 A.M. a pipe bomb was thrown at a house in the Kings Grant' area,’’ Finkelstein told the station.

Another strip reportedly included references to Mitt Romney’s motorcade — possibly related to the second presidential debate that was held October 16th at Hofstra University on Long Island.

The Nassau County Police Department said in a statement it “is very concerned about this situation. We will be conducting an investigation into this matter as well as reviewing our procedures for the disposing of sensitive documents."

How the unusual confetti made its way into the parade is a mystery for now.

Macy’s told WPIX it uses "commercially manufactured, multicolor confetti, not shredded paper" during the annual parade.

One possibility is that the shredded paper was thrown by revelers watching the parade from a nearby apartment house window.



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