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8/26/2005
08:34 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: The Evidence Is Out There--E-Mail, Etc.

Startup develops automated E-mail analyzer ... security breach exposes Air Force officers' personal information ... "men's entertainment" magazine enters intellectual-property fray ... World Trade Organization seeks to pin down U.S. stance on online gambling.

E-Mail As Evidence. Why would you buy a database containing 1.5 million E-mails, including attachments, generated by former Enron executives? Maybe if you want to show how a piece of software can analyze the E-mail strings and generate relevant data and insights faster than the lawyers involved in the case. That's what a Mountain View, Calif., startup did. Last week saw the debut of MetaLincs, a company that has developed what it says is the first automated E-mail analyzer, called MetaLincs E-Discovery, which provides a visual representation of the relationships evidenced in E-mail, such as time, events, and communication patterns. Before this, E-mail analysis was a labor-intensive process, mostly outsourced to third parties, MetaLincs CEO Ramon Nuñez says. But E-mail has become the No. 1 source of evidence in corporate crime, and companies will spend more than $4.6 billion in expenses related to E-mail analysis this year alone, Nuñez says. And it hits large companies hardest--the typical Fortune 500 company has 125 active legal matters, three-quarters of which require E-mail analysis. That's paying for a lot of lawyers' lunches. "The ability to quickly and accurately assess a case and discover specific, relevant information contained in E-mails can expedite the decision process in potential legal disputes," said a statement by Mary Ann Kim, manager of litigation support at DuPont, which tested the product. How much did the Enron E-mail cost? "I don't think it was a lot," Nuñez says. "In the tens of thousands of dollars."

UP AND AWAY. The Air Force said last week that it's notifying 33,000 personnel, mostly officers, that a security breach exposed personal data to an intruder. The Air Force said a "malicious user" got into an assignment and career database by using "a legitimate user's login information to access and/or download individuals' personal information." The Air Force said the information contained in the database included birth dates and Social Security numbers but not addresses or phone numbers.

PICTURE THIS. Perfect 10, a "men's entertainment" magazine, has petitioned a judge to grant an injunction against Amazon.com and Google to get them to take down thumbnails of the magazine's girlie pictures generated in their search engines and to stop linking to sites that illegally feature the copyrighted material. Sounds innocuous, but it's not. The use of content on the Internet is a big issue, wrapped up in the wider intellectual-property debate. The use of content in connection with search engines is even thornier. Google has gotten itself into copyright hot water concerning several projects, including the library database of all published books, its database of images, and its database of videos.

ALL IN. The World Trade Organization has given the United States less than a year to clarify its position on online gambling, specifically in relation to the Interstate Horseracing Act, which allows off-site betting. Antigua, home to many gambling sites, filed a complaint with the WTO against the United States over its ban on Internet gambling.

Online gambling is illegal in the United States? Uh-oh. I better close my accounts. And you better watch The News Show, noon ET every weekday, at www.TheNewsShow.tv or on informationweek.com. If you have a gambling tip, or an industry tip, send it (quick) to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326.


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