This year's BT Flagship Award for Innovation was won by Garlick's DataPatrol, which aims to give consumers greater power over their privacy and identity online.
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In the BT Flagship Award for Innovation the judges were looking for an outstanding project that brings real benefit to society and raises the profile of the IT industry.
This year's winner, DataPatrol from online identity management specialist Garlik, is the first semantic technology platform that aims to give consumers power over their privacy and identity online. The project was a double winner, also collecting the Web-based Technology Award.
According to the latest figures from the Identity Theft Steering Committee, ID fraud is estimated to cost the UK economy £1.2bn a year, or £25 for every adult in Britain. It is a real threat for individuals and business - in 2007 more than 65,000 people were victims of identity theft, according to figures from UK fraud prevention service CIFAS. For victims, identity theft is not only costly, it destroys confidence in such systems as banking and government services.
DataPatrol has been developed in response to the evolving world of thieves who exploit personal information available online to steal an individual's identity. Using pioneering semantic web technology, it helps consumers track personal data across web pages, public records, commercial databases, geo-demographic data, and a subscriber's credit profile.
Steve Markwell, chief executive at NCC and chair of the judges for the project excellence awards, says, "In judging this entry we were especially impressed with how leading-edge web-based technology has been applied to address an increasingly pressing problem caused by the phenomenal growth and success of the worldwide web.
"This is a truly innovative approach to a very real problem that we all face. With so many of us now banking online, using government online services and social networking sites, the task of managing personal information in the ether can be a difficult one."
Founded by Mike Harris, founding CEO of online bank Egg, former Egg CIO Tom Ilube, and former BCS president Nigel Shadbolt, Garlik is the first company to develop a web-scale commercial application of semantic technology. The system enables consumers to find and understand what personal information about them is in the public domain and manage how their identities appear online. The aim is to help users see exactly where that personal information is on the internet, manage it, assess whether it puts them at risk of cybercrime, and take steps to protect themselves.
The system works by running a weekly report detailing what personal information appears and where, giving an intelligent assessment of how vulnerable the individual is to ID theft and advice on how to reduce the risks.
DataPatrol undertakes daily and weekly searches for credit card details and other compromised financial and sensitive information. Users are alerted immediately if any of their sensitive details are found to be compromised, so they can take action to prevent misuse of their information.
Markwell says, "In the area of data security, and ID theft in particular, this product provides an innovative approach to web-based data management and analysis. It has a large potential market and has already gained significant take up throughout the sector."
There were two runner-up medallists in the BT Flagship Award for Innovation: Geometric Process Control by Curvaceous Software, which is used to solve difficult manufacturing problems and Canditv by Data Driven Logistics, which enables mobile telephones to be used as TV remote controls.
Curvaceous Software is dedicated to improving the business efficiency of process companies worldwide through research, development and delivery of applications of its geometric process control technology. The company, founded in 1998, holds patents centred around the geometric process control technology for process improvement, control and optimisation and offers the technology to consumers as a range of Curvaceous software products.
Data Driven Logistics, which was formed in 2004, has developed a product branded Canditv (Call and Interact Television) that underpins the development of applications to enable any public-facing screen to become interactive.
This allows advertisers, retailers, games manufacturers and service providers to reach their target markets in a new and innovative way. Research into the product included collaboration with academic institutions and advice from specialist bodies.
Photos from the awards ceremony
Photos of IT folk enjoying themselves at the BCS awards dinner >>
Profiles of award winners
More information about the BCS IT Industry Awards can be found on the BCS awards website.