Privacy Requires More Intelligent Filters

Today's email encryption products frequently have a policy management component. This scans emails, especially outgoing ones, to determine if the email ought to be encrypted.

The idea makes sense. The trouble is, that the filters involved are usually too crude. For example, filter might specify that an email should be encrypted if it is:

  • Destined for a certain domain
  • From the legal department
  • The  subject contains the word"Confidential"

Filters like these are as bad as spam filters that look for blacklisted words. They catch all sorts of things that don't need to be caught, and they miss a lot of material that does need to be caught.

Vontu's developing a set of filters that detect confidential information, including customer data and intellectual property, in email as well as other electronic media. The filters have much greater subtlety.

So it's nice to see that encryption vendor PGP and Vontu are partnering, whereby PGP's crude-but-industry-standard approach to filtering is augmented by Vontu's more subtle approach. See Vontu's May 9 press release here for more details.

Developing good filters is challenging. Expect to see more firms such as Vontu offering them. And we can expect to see more marriages between them and email encryption firms. And with email archiving firms, by the same logic.

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