IBM researchers have developed Masking Gateway for Enterprises (MAGEN), software that uses optical character recognition and screen scraping technology to identify and conceal confidential information. IBM says MAGEN can prevent data leakage and allow for data sharing while protecting sensitive business data. MAGEN works at the screen level by “catching” the information before it reaches the screen, analyzing the content, and masking sensitive details that should be hidden from the potential viewer. The system treats the information as a picture, uses optical character recognition to identify confidential sections, and places a data “mask” over those details, without copying, changing, or processing the data. IBM says customers can set masking rules that can be defined per screen structure or per application. MAGEN does not change the software program or data, but rather filters information before it reaches the screen. The software also does not force companies to create modified copies of electronic records to mask, scramble, or eliminate data. IBM says MAGEN could be used for healthcare firms that outsource customer service and claims processing functions to a third party, enabling customer service representatives to access patient records while protecting private medical information.
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