A lawyer inside your PC - British software can flag corporate nefariousness

A lawyer inside your PC - British software can flag corporate nefariousness

Summary: . . . No more corporate scandals?Autonomy [AUTN], the second largest European software company Monday launched Autonomy Information Governance (AIG), software that can understand in real-time the meaning of email, blogs, and other documents.

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. . . No more corporate scandals?

Autonomy [AUTN], the second largest European software company Monday launched Autonomy Information Governance (AIG), software that can understand in real-time the meaning of email, blogs, and other documents. It can flag illegal communications and also find documents related to a lawsuit against the company, and also destroy documents that don't require to be saved yet could raise the risk of a successful future legal action against the company.

"Human nature is not going to change because of the Internet," said Michael Lynch, CEO and founder of Autonomy. "Technology has made it easier for some people within a company do a lot of damage." He cited the recent case of a French trader who lost billions of dollars in unauthorized trades, and the loss of data on every child in Britain by a UK government agency.

The AIG software has several uses. Customers set the policies they are required by law to enforce and the software monitors compliance in real-time.

This includes inappropriate communications via email or instant messaging. For example, it can warn the user not to send an email because it contains illegal communications, or it is in violation of one of many corporate governance rules in its sector.

Another use for AIG is in e-discovery. When a corporation is sued, it often has just 90 days to produce huge quantities of documents, emails, etc, related to the lawsuit. It faces huge fines if it doesn't meet the deadline. The software understands the meaning of documents and can reveal which documents should be reviewed by lawyers.

Companies being sued or investigated, must lock-down all their documents so that they can be searched for evidence. This has to be done even if a company has not been sued or investigated but has a reasonable chance of that happening.

"With 14,000 separate records retention regulations out there and the complexities and costs being incurred just trying to comply with legal hold requests, a company doesn't have the capability to manage this without advanced technology," said Browning Marean, a top lawyer, and partner at DLA Piper US LLP.

AIG will also make sure that policies on document retention are followed. Documents are flagged for deletion because they no longer need to be kept and they could potentially lead to an unpleasant surprise in the future.

Autonomy's current strategy is to move into the lucrative multi-billion market for e-discovery with the acquisition of Zantaz, a California based company, and trying to bolster its position against market leader Recommind, based in San Francisco.

Mr Lynch said he expects a lot of business to come from lawsuits around the sub-prime financial credit crisis.

Autonomy's strength is in enterprise search. It says its AI software can understand the meaning of a document.

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Please see: Mike Lynch on the meaning of meaning based computing.

Please also see: Autonomy CEO says tags don't work

News.com's Charles Cooper: What's interesting is what we say it is. Really?

Last week I attended a briefing by Autonomy, a company based in the United Kingdom and San Francisco. On Monday, Autonomy will announce a product designed to assist companies with governance compliance. This likely will be a big deal for IT administrators and law firms that are scrambling to enact internal information management policies in the wake of the subprime mortgage and credit crisis.

Topics: IT Employment, CXO, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Hardware, Legal, Software

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3 comments
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  • Total B.S. (Bachelor of Science ?...)

    I spent a year in a Ph.D. program in linguistics, which is the [b][i]science[/i][/b] of language. From around 1955 to 1975 the U.S. military, (primarily the Air Force), pumped MILLIONS of dollars into linguistic research on the assumption it would eventually result in automated translation. They cut off funding when it became obvious that in order to do translation the "reader" has to [b][i]understand[/i][/b] what it is reading. In other words, the "reader" has to be SENTIENT. We are nowhere near being able to develop sentient software.

    AND THEN it would have to have training in engineering, finance, law, etc. AND THEN it would have to be kept informed about CURRENT EVENTS. It would need business acronyms constantly updated. Does "CD" mean Compact Disc or does it mean Certificate of Deposit? Is HD referring to HD-DVD or HDTV? Oh, wait, maybe it means Hard Disk ... It would need to understand CULTURAL and SUBCULTURAL references, e.g., "saved by the Blood".

    TRAINED EXPERTS have trouble identifying and tracking accounting fraud, etc. Claiming that NON-SENTIENT software can track such things is ridiculous.

    Of course, that won't keep companies from spending MILLIONS on the "latest and greatest" ...

    If you want an idea of how poorly "understanding" software works, find a foreign-language copy of the Bible on-line, cut-and-paste a few paragraphs into Google's translator, and compare the output to a modern English Bible.
    Rick_R
  • Interesting

    I have watched this co, Autonomy since the pre-dot-com days and they have come out many a times, ahead of competitors, with some very intelligent products. I think this becomes a lot more relevant with the compliance scare of SOX. Would be interesting to watch how the industry takes it.

    http://techwatch.reviewk.com/2008/04/a-lawyer-inside-your-pc-intelligent-information-governance-platform/
    desmondhaynes
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