New Technology Gives E-Mailers Chance to Rethink Messages
Forbes reported that a new product from a company called InBoxer (formerly known as Audiotrieve) is on display at the Demo Conference in New York this week. The product, known as OutBoxer, scans outgoing e-mail messages looking for inappropriate content, unauthorized disclosure of information and tries to encourage senders to improve their messages before they actually send them.
Stories of e-mail disasters abound. One of the best-known cases involves Chevron, now part of ChevronTexaco, which paid a $2.2 million settlement in 1995 to four female employees who were offended by an e-mail making the rounds in their office.
OutBoxer, expected to be available this summer, was tested using more than half a million messages written by former Enron executives. The messages were made public as part of the government's investigation into wrongdoing at the company.
InBoxer CEO and Founder Roger Matus says that OutBoxer uses a technique called "linguistic processing" that is in part derived from related work in speech recognition by his co-founder and chief technologist, Sean True, Forbes reported.
Running OutBoxer against the Enron mails found that 20 percent of those messages contained some "nonbusiness" content, Forbes reported, adding another 4 percent of the messages-or about one in 25-in the Enron collection contained content that was either pornographic, racially or ethnically insensitive or which contained questionable images.
OutBoxer works with Microsoft's Exchange server and will in time extend its reach to Research In Motion's Blackberry wireless e-mail devices as well.
OutBoxer gives users a number of replies to e-mails, advising the sender think twice about sending certain messages. In other cases, the program might red flag a message, noting certain content that could or should be deleted.
Of course OutBoxer can't do anything about employees who suspect their e-mail is being monitored and choose to send sensitive messages from home computers not covered by the scanning system.