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

. . . 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.

. . . 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.


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