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Keeping a MindfulEye on Stock Talk

[Vancouver, BRITISH COLUMBIA] It might be one of the oldest scams going, but it has publicly traded companies rethinking their security measures. Simply put, stock fraud is a very real problem for many firms that are vulnerable to having their shares manipulated by ill-intentioned fraudsters, uninformed traders and journalists alike. As a result, high-tech developers in the business of creating monitoring technologies that can scan the Internet for talk of companies listed on the Stock Exchange are in high demand.

This week in Vancouver, MindfulEye Inc. has released Surveillance Version 1.2, an upgrade to the software developer's Surveillance product that monitors Internet chat rooms, financial news Web sites and other information sources on the Internet for messages, gossip or rumors that could positively or negatively affect a publicly traded company's stock value. MindfulEye is also behind the development of Lexant, artificial intelligence technology that reads and understands material as it appears on the Internet.

According to the release statement, Surveillance Version 1.2 is equipped with new features, and was introduced into the marketplace after MindfulEye received a significant amount of press coverage during the fall of 2000. Publicly traded firms in Canada may subscribe to Surveillance 1.2 through Canada NewsWire, while international customers can order the service directly through MindfulEye.

In October, Key Capital Group Inc., a battery manufacturer based in Vancouver, fell victim to stock manipulation after an inaccurate message about the company was posted on a financial news site. The firm recovered from the bad press, but only after seeing its stock price fall approximately 13 percent. In the United States, numerous cases of Internet-related stock fraud have been reported, from petty scams that were quickly remedied to scandals that put companies right out of business. Even the Mafia has gotten in on it: FinancialWeb.com, a promising financial news site based in Boston, folded in November after one of its principal investors, Glenn Laken - a high-roller who is accused of doing business with his mob connections - was indicted for manipulating the dot-com's stock. The fraud was allegedly committed over the Net.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSE) is presently acting as a beta-testing site for MindfulEye's Surveillance technology; in return for trying out the software for free, the stock exchange will provide criticisms and suggestions as to how the technology would better perform for a stock exchange's very specific requirements. The Canadian Venture Exchange (CDNX) is doing the same.

For MindfulEye, these alliances, and the publicity they generate, are integral to the company's marketing plan. "Building awareness through publicity continues to be a key element of our promotion strategy," said Scott Kerr, vice president of business development at MindfulEye. "We have a compelling story and ... in light of recent media attention and better-than-expected interest from corporate customers, we are optimistic about adoption rates for Surveillance 1.2."