CRF Blog

Tip for Bad Guys

by Bill Hayes

In Tip for Bad Guys: Burn, Don’t Shred, Bloomberg Businessweek reports on an interesting contest that DARPA, the Defense Research Projects Agency, holds.

To most people, 10,000 slivers of shredded paper are as good as trash. To three coders in San Francisco, they’re a challenge — especially when the jumbled mass of paper once made up five classified government documents.

The trio were not hackers trying to steal state secrets, but participants in a contest run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), the government group that funds high-tech military research. In October, Darpa offered $50,000 to the first group to piece together the shredded documents or the one that made the most progress by Dec. 4. In previous Darpa tournaments, participants have been asked to build robotic cars or use the Internet to find balloons scattered across the country. The goal of the paper shredder puzzle was to unearth technologies that could be used for national security. [more]