Google's Sidewalk Labs convinced Toronto to let it build an all-surveilling "smart city" on a small patch of lakefront and then promptly shenaniganized things, breaking all its privacy and transparency promises and prompting a mass exodus of its advisory board members and other watchdogs.
But the shenanigans just keep coming: newly discovered documents reveal that the privatization and private surveillance of Toronto will extend far beyond the original site, capturing most of the waterfront, including Exhibition Place, Ontario Place, Fort York, Harbourfront, Rogers Centre, the CN Tower, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Union Station.
The whole process remains shrouded in mystery, and it seems unlikely that the terrible provincial government will have the competence or moral force to do anything to check it.
And on December 5, the Auditor General of Ontario issued a report on the project, stating it is being rushed forward without sufficient public disclosure. Auditor Bonnie Lysyk said Waterfront Toronto's "new agreement with Sidewalk Labs raises concerns in areas such as consumer protection, data collection, security, privacy, governance, anti-trust and ownership of intellectual privacy."
The province responded to the report by saying it will work with the municipal and federal governments to determine whether any new legislation, bylaws or policies are needed to protect the public interest before the deal is finalized.
The auditor's report also noted: "We found internal Waterfront Toronto emails indicating that the (Waterfront Toronto) board felt it was being "urged – strongly –" by the federal and provincial governments to approve and authorize the framework agreement with Sidewalk Labs as soon as possible."
Plan to re-imagine Toronto's waterfront: How much does public know about it? [Rosemary Frei/Rabble]