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A Baltimore county company’s just-patented tech could help protect your privacy rights

Ardent Privacy's new AI-infused tech will allow companies to effectively comply with data privacy regulations, according to its CEO.

Sameer Ahirrao, CEO and Founder of Ardent Privacy. (Courtesy photo)
A tech process that enables large-scale data privacy compliance earned Catonsville, Maryland-based Ardent Privacy its latest patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The data security company earned the patent, the issuance of which Ardent Privacy announced today, for tech that a statement said allows clients to conduct “data minimization without reading data content. For those who aren’t data experts, this means that the data compliance tool allows companies to track, find and delete your data more easily without infringing upon data protection laws.

This tech, like much of what Ardent Privacy has developed from its HQ at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s bwtech@UMBC research park, helps companies of all sizes better comply with the government’s data privacy regulations. Compliance processes can otherwise cost these companies quite a lot of money: a 2021 report from the International Association of Privacy Professionals stated that companies spend an average of $873,000 per year to comply with such data privacy protocols as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation laws.

This kind of imbalance does not make sense to Sameer Ahirrao, Ardent Privacy’s founder and CEO who developed this newly patented tech.

“You can’t have a cost of compliance that’s higher than the tech itself,” Ahirrao told Technical.ly.

The patented tech uses machine learning and natural language processing to catalog data in a way that can let companies focus more on data hygiene than data discovery. This would put companies in a position where it keeps only the data needed to do business. Any subsequent data breaches would thus not involve excessive amounts of consumer data being leaked.

This tech is incorporated within Ardent Privacy’s latest TurtleShield platform, which the company launched last month. The whole process that led to the patent issuance took 18 months.

Ahirrao sees this AI-infused tech as a means for companies to deliver on data privacy rights to which all consumers are theoretically (and, in some jurisdictions, legally) entitled, including the rights to access, correct, delete and opt-out. Although Ardent Privacy is a business-to-business company, the use of Ahirrao’s tech could facilitate greater data transparency between larger corporations and their consumers.

“We truly don’t have access to our own data,” Ahirrao said. “They can only tell you, ‘We’ll use data the way you want.’ You cannot request the data to your device. [This patented tech] will enable companies to do that.”

Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

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