The results were stunning: from the sex crimes unit there were detailed domestic violence complaints and a list of wanted sex offenders. On a second machine from the Buffalo Police Narcotics Unit we found a list of targets in a major drug raid.
The third machine, from a New York construction company, spit out design plans for a building near Ground Zero in Manhattan; 95 pages of pay stubs with names, addresses and social security numbers; and $40,000 in copied checks.
But it wasn't until hitting "print" on the fourth machine - from Affinity Health Plan, a New York insurance company, that we obtained the most disturbing documents: 300 pages of individual medical records.
Photocopy machine hard drives are supposed to be encrypted or wiped before resale, but obviously such is not being done. And, as CBS notes -
The day we visited the New Jersey warehouse, two shipping containers packed with used copiers were headed overseas - loaded with secrets on their way to unknown buyers in Argentina and Singapore.
In a related story, during the Cold War, the CIA collaborated with the Xerox Corporation to install a camera inside a machine used at the Soviet embassy. The project was so successful that dozens more such camera were installed in embassies around the world (embassies of friends and foes). That fascinating story is recounted at Edit International.