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Given how notorious Wall Streeters are for writing embarrassing e-mails that are later used against them in court (see: Libor scandal), they should really take note of this news.The FBI has developed new software that scans e-mails for buzz words and phrases that indicate the sender (and receiver) or said mail are up to no good, the FT reports. There are over 3,000 words and phrases that would raise a red flag in the program.
Accounting firm Ernst and Young found out about this program after looking through evidence from corporate investigations in conjunction with the FBI.
“The language, which is a mix of accounting phrases, personal motivations and attempts to conceal, are very revealing,” said Rashmi Joshi, Ernst & Young’s director of fraud investigation and disputes services.
He said that the monitoring of email traffic played almost no role in the compliance efforts of companies looking for possible problems. “While most organisations only focus on the numbers when investigating discrepancies, what we are seeing are ways of analysing words – emails, SMS or instant messaging – to identify and isolate wrongdoing.”
Linguistic analysis software, which initially protects employee anonymity, can flag uncharacteristic changes in tone and language in electronic conversations and can also be tailored for particular types of employees, especially traders.
So phrases like, “nobody will find out,” “call my mobile“,” and “don’t leave a trail” could now get you noticed.
You’ve been warned.