A vendor at LegalTech, Aungate, has software that many companies use to enforce internal policies. It can monitor all e-mails and instant messages for improper terms.
My first reaction was to blanch at the intense opposition most people would have to such Big Brotherism.
My second reaction was that, if the software survived that onslaught, it might advance automatic knowledge management, a means of bringing together people in law departments who do not know others are working on (or have worked on) a similar legal issue.
If the software picked out messages by people who do not work together but that have used key terms – “grey goods” and “research” perhaps – it might let each of them know so that they can at least coordinate their efforts.