Moorcrofts secure grant for sensitive information App
Specialist Corporate and Technology Law Firm, Moorcrofts, has secured a five-figure sum from the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet programme to research and develop an open source app that can be used to search for and identify sensitive data in documents and then offer the user a variety of options, such as effectively redacting and deleting the information or displacing it into a separate document.
The grant was successfully awarded by NLnet, who manage the fund with the purpose of promoting the exchange of electronic information dedicated to technologies on search, discovery and discoverability for the public interest.
The grant will enable Moorcrofts to research and develop an open source tool that organisations or individuals can use to search documents to easily identify sensitive data and replace it with tags, redact it, or relocate it, perhaps to a separate document or even inject it into a different application. This means that organisations dealing with large quantities of documents containing sensitive information, like personal data, can strip and replace the data without making the documents incoherent. It also, means that the documents can be shared with other parties or organisations without the privacy and sensitive information included, adhering to GDPR and privacy regulations or confidentiality obligations.
The source code of the project will be made publicly available under the Apache 2.0 licence: a free and open source software licence recognised by both the Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundation. This will enable anyone to use it without restrictions and to modify to their own needs and the needs of others. Anyone improving the software is encouraged to feed back the improvements to the project so that anyone else can take advantage of them.
Much of the development work will be carried out by Moorcrofts development partners, NewRoCo, under an OpenChain compliant development methodology.
Andrew Katz, Joint Managing Partner and Head of Technology at Moorcrofts, said:
“The privacy requirements fluctuate within documents, even to a degree where mutually exclusive demands apply to the same document. Some content could be public by law and other content protected by privacy regulations. Once privacy sensitive information reaches a wider audience in the business, third parties or even the internet, it is very difficult to control. This necessitates fine-grained search and displacement capabilities operating on outgoing streams of documents, which will reduce the risk of sensitive and privacy data becoming public information when documents are shared.
Many businesses will also benefit from using this tool, not only to improve their privacy policies and provide them with the flexibility to share documents, which would otherwise contain sensitive information, and saving staff time in doing so.
The funding will certainly enable us to push our concept further, turning a great idea into a true innovation. Our team are excited to be building a tool that will help the efficiency and effectiveness of many businesses.
Perhaps most importantly, this lets us practise what we preach by carrying out software development both in compliance with the OpenChain specification, and released under a major open source licence: both areas in which Moorcrofts and our sister company Orcro Limited specialise.”
This project will coincide and support Moorcrofts and Oxford Brookes University’s wider initiative in developing specialist AI software to analyse contracts to increase the efficiency of contract management and negotiation, and give SMEs access to cost-effective contract advice.
If you would like to know more about the project or the services Moorcrofts offer, please contact Andrew Katz.