BREAKING: Google Backed Sidewalk Labs Is Abandoning Plans To Build A Smart Neighborhood In Toronto

You might recall that a Google backed company named Sidewalk Labs was planning to build a smart neighborhood 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 abandoned:

For the last two-and-a-half years, we have been passionate about making Quayside happen — indeed, we have invested time, people, and resources in Toronto, including opening a 30-person office on the waterfront. But as unprecedented economic uncertainty has set in around the world and in the Toronto real estate market, it has become too difficult to make the 12-acre project financially viable without sacrificing core parts of the plan we had developed together with Waterfront Toronto to build a truly inclusive, sustainable community. And so, after a great deal of deliberation, we concluded that it no longer made sense to proceed with the Quayside project, and let Waterfront Toronto know yesterday.

While we won’t be pursuing this particular project, the current health emergency makes us feel even more strongly about the importance of reimagining cities for the future. I believe that the ideas we have developed over the last two-and-a-half years will represent a meaningful contribution to the work of tackling big urban problems, particularly in the areas of affordability and sustainability. This is a vital societal endeavor, and Sidewalk Labs will continue our work to contribute to it.

Now there’s no mention of any of the privacy related issues that have dogged this project. But you have to think that this factors into the decision to deep six this project. I am sure that all the facts will come out in the hours and days ahead. And when they do, you’ll see it here. But I for one am happy that this project is not proceeding as I simply don’t trust Google to manage the data that this project would generate.

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