Toronto Needs To Say No To Sidewalk Labs

Two years ago Alphabet via its Sidewalk Labs arm was given planning permission to develop 800 acres of Toronto waterfront into a car-free, data-driven neighborhood called Quayside. The vision was as follows:

By combining people-centered urban design with cutting-edge technology, we can achieve new standards of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.

That sounds great right? Well, some say not so much. Former BlackBerry co-CEO Jim Balsillie called it “a colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism” and pretty much said that Toronto should deep six the idea. Then Saadia Muzaffar and John Ruffalo who were volunteer members of an advisory committee quit the project. Both indicated that their departures had to do with a lack of public trust. To top it all off Ann Cavoukian who was Ontario’s privacy commissioner and a leading privacy expert quit citing privacy concerns.

Clearly all is not well with Quayside.

When one of the leading privacy experts in the country, as well as two others with very strong business and tech backgrounds, along with the former CEO of a company that has security at the forefront of everything they do all say that this project is a bad idea, perhaps the City Of Toronto should listen and pull the plug on this. Now Sidewalk Labs put out a really pretty blog post that says that everything is fine and people in Toronto have nothing to worry about because they take privacy seriously. But consider this. We are talking about Alphabet which is also known as Google. A company known for slurping up massive amounts of data and using it to make piles of cash. Can the be trusted?

I’m going to go with no.

If I were the City of Toronto, I would run away from this project. It’s not worth it. Seriously. It’s time to say no to Sidewalk Labs and Quayside.


One Response to “Toronto Needs To Say No To Sidewalk Labs”

  1. […] in Toronto called Quayside. Which in turn set off all sorts of privacy related alarm bells. Including from yours truly. Well, news is breaking that this project is now being […]

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