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Overtis user activity management software helps police with enquiries

It has even, he told Infosecurity, allowed some forces to prosecute rogue officers, as well as, perhaps more mundanely, stopping staff from hitting the 'reply all' button on their email accounts.

"There was the widely-reported situation recently with Gwent police sending off a list of data, but inadvertently copying the email to a journalist who had previously sent in a freedom of information request, and was therefore in their mail directory", he said.

The success of VigilancePro follows on from the development of a new protective marking feature to safeguard files that hold confidential information.

Overtis says that the new feature was developed in response to requests from UK police forces to help them to comply with Management of Police Information guidance, published by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Protective marking is the UK system of classifying documents according to the Government Protective Marking Scheme (GPMS).

GPMS, Infosecurity notes, identifies the level of impact or harm that would be caused if information was disclosed to other states or external parties.

The system is used throughout central and local government and the Critical National Infrastructure, to ensure that sensitive information is safely handled, stored and transmitted.

In use, Overtis' software allows whitelists to be created for different email classification levels, ensuring that emails marked as `confidential' cannot be sent outside of the pnn.police.uk domain, for example.

This, says the company, prevents emails from being accidentally sent to recipients outside of the force if they are inadvertently added via the 'auto-complete' function.

Macnair says that police have to gather a lot of information on citizens to enable them to do their jobs effectively.

"However, there is a growing recognition that stored information is only as safe as the people who access it and the Information Commissioner has criticised individual forces for privacy breaches", he said.

"By implementing technology that sits between personnel and data and encourages best practice through a combination of education and enforcement, officers can get on with using and sharing information to help them to carry out their duties - without breaching privacy regulations", he added.

Macnair went on to say that some forces are using the software to monitor internal activity to prevent corruption or collusion whilst others are using it in line with Data Protection Act and government data handling guidelines, such as managing the use of USB storage devices.

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