6 December 2004

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Newspaper article

Here's another newspaper article [Link]:

The text of it is:

Napier 'spy' software set to fight terrorism

University develops PC programs which act as detectives


COMPUTER "agents" which can help fight global terrorism and organised crime are being developed by scientists at a city university.

Academics at Napier University are creating software programs which act as detectives - accessing other computers via the internet or wireless technology and seeking out signs of criminal activity.

Dr Bill Buchanan, leader of the Distributed Systems research group in the institute’s School of Computing, is working with the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO) to produce the software, which he says is more reliable and trustworthy than human investigators.

Dr Buchanan said: "These little software agents mimic humans. They can be sent to a computer to search for certain things and then return with that information to a [human] investigator.

"We are trying to give them some moral and legal rules so they act in a morally correct way. Say you were to investigate some sort of fraud, the agent shouldn’t be able to investigate things on the computer that weren’t related to that. We’re trying to build in something to safeguard against that."

The technology may sound like turning criminal computing techniques, such as hacking, against the criminals. But Dr Buchanan insisted it was not a hacking device and could only be used on computers the police already had access to.


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