Tech Update: Smart approach to privacy, NYC turns to Canada

Tech Update: Smart approach to privacy, NYC turns to Canada

Privacy breaches keep coming. Last week, the Ontario government revealed that information on some 360,000 people was exposed in an incident linked to the province’s COVID-19 vaccine portal. An approach to privacy that tries to minimize the amount of sensitive information being held is gathering pace.

One Canadian company working on this is Private AI, whose smart software can locate and remove personally identifying information, such as names, addresses and social security numbers, in speech, text, videos and photos. The company recently secured $10.7 million in funding, which will help it develop products and expand into new European markets.

Private AI works with insurers, health care companies, hospitals and financial services companies. Its technology can help in training chatbots by enabling them to access real data without the risk of personal information being exposed. The tech works across 47 different languages and this number is growing, says Patricia Thaine, co-founder. “Privacy isn’t just for the English-speaking world,” said Thaine.

Canadian AI helps keep NYC moving

Founded in Hamilton, Ont., startup Preteckt, which makes an AI system that predicts when vehicles will need maintenance, has been tapped by New York City’s transit authority to help keep its massive bus fleet on the road. Preteckt’s tech has been tested on 326 buses in the last six months and will soon be used on 1,500 vehicles.

WHO picks Canadian startup to help tackle antibiotic resistance

Vancouver-based FirstLine has been selected by the World Health Organization to help combat the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant infections. FirstLine will distribute the WHO’s latest prescribing guidance on more than 30 common antibiotics, through its app, to doctors around the world.

Might vertical farming solve $15 lettuce?

As salad prices rise thanks to a drought in California and an increase in labour costs, vertical farming is attracting growing interest. Edmonton’s Vertical Roots has reported booming sales, amid a shortage of leafy greens, and Guelph-based GoodLeaf has raised $150 million to expand its line of lettuce and microgreens nationally.

KeyOps closes seed round

KeyOps, a startup connecting physicians and life science companies, has raised $4 million in seed funding from investors, including Graphite Ventures and MaRS IAF. The Toronto-based venture aims to help pharmaceutical makers make commercial decisions faster and respond better to patients’ needs.

By the numbers

90 per cent: Toronto delivery startup GoBolt hopes to fulfil 90 per cent of its deliveries with electric vehicles by the end of next year after raising $75 million in funding.

41 per cent: Accenture reports that 41 per cent of Canadians are planning to take up a side hustle to earn more cash for the holiday season.

192: The first viable nuclear fusion reaction, which made headlines this week, involved firing 192 giant lasers to heat a tiny gold cylinder containing hydrogen to a temperature hotter than the sun. That feels suitably sci-fi for the power source of the future.

Rebecca Gao writes about technology for MaRS. Torstar, the parent company of the Toronto Star, has partnered with MaRS to highlight innovation in Canadian companies.

Disclaimer This content was produced as part of a partnership and therefore it may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.