Autonomy, the once-fêted information sorting software group, has scooped a multimillion-dollar deal with the US government that could be crucial in preventing terrorist attacks such as the recent bombing in Bali, Indonesia.
Its software, which will form a key element of George Bush's war on terror, will be used by 21 US government agencies under the aegis of the Office of Homeland Security. "After 11 September, the US President realised one of the big problems was the very large number of government agencies [meant] they couldn't work together as one," Mike Lynch, Autonomy's chief executive, said.
The new software package will help the plethora of security agencies pool any tip-offs they receive about possible terrorist attacks by working as a "backbone" to connect all of the pieces of information. Mr Lynch added: "The whole idea is to try and stop something like the Bali bomb happening."
The contract win comes at a critical time for Autonomy, which has seen its shares collapse over the past four months amid a fresh downturn in spending on technology.
Explaining how the US agencies would use the software, Mr Lynch said: "The whole problem is that you don't know exactly what you're looking for. This technology can read things. It has the ability to take something like an e-mail or a report and rather than just see individual words like a search engine, understand the ideas behind it."
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