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By | John Leyden 26th August 2008 11:32

MessageLabs takes smut-blocking tech in-house

We liked it, so we bought the company

Web security services outfit MessageLabs has acquired image analysis technology firm Fortium ICA Limited. Fortium Technologies, the parent company of Fortium ICA, will continue to market and develop video copy control and fingerprint detection technologies as an independent company.

Terms of the technology acquisition deal, announced on Tuesday, were not disclosed. MessageLabs has used Fortium's image recognition technology to block smut and other offensive content from the networks of its corporate clients for "several years". It apparently liked the tech so much it decided to buy the company.

MessageLabs pledged that license agreements with third-party customers for Fortium image analysis technology "will be fully supported and maintained". It has signed a three year service agreement with Fortium Technologies to provide support so as to minimise disruption.

Fortium ICA's partners, as listed on its website, include Secure Computing, Websense and Symantec. None of these firms go head to head with MessageLabs in providing security as a service, but there is a fair degree of overlap so the deal does raise questions about whether MessageLabs will get access to the "good stuff" first. Fortium is keen to downplay this suggestion.

"After working closely with MessageLabs for many years on the development of our technology, we are confident that this move will benefit the technology itself as well as the OEM partners and all their users," said Mathew Gilliat-Smith, chief exec of Fortium Technologies.

Stephen Chandler, Chief finance officer of MessageLabs, said that as an early investor in Fortium ICA it was delighted to bring the technology in-house. "We look forward to continuing to invest in and develop this best-of-breed technology for image analysis, together with our core intellectual property around messaging security," he said. ®

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