Sidewalk Labs is the division of Alphabet/Google that builds "smart city" technology; their most ambitious project to date is a massive privatised city-within-a-city planned for Toronto's lakeshore -- a project that received secretly approval to be much larger than was announced, a fact that Sidewalk lied about.
Now, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has filed suit against all three levels of government -- the city, the province and the country -- over the Toronto Sidewalk Labs project, seeking a judgment that the project will violate Canadians' privacy rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Sidewalk Labs argues that the privacy issues are being taken care of through its contract with Waterfront Toronto, a body chartered by the national, provincial and municipal governments. CCLA says that Waterfront Toronto does not have the authority to sign away peoples' privacy rights.
Waterfront Toronto is certainly a toothless watchdog, and a string of high-profile resignations from its advisory board have highlighted the frustration that public-minded advocates feel with the organisation's unwillingness to take the public interest seriously.
People interested in fighting the Sidewalk Labs project can follow #BlockSidewalk, which is organising a series of community meetings and other events to put the brakes on the project.
“You can argue that you consent when you put Alexa in your home or connect your electronics to your online accounts,” Michael Bryant, executive director of the CCLA, told me over the phone. “It’s another thing to say you consent when you walk from one block in Toronto to the next.”
Canada Is Getting Sued Over Sidewalk Labs’ ‘Smart City’ In Toronto [Jordan Pearson/Motherboard]
Consumer Reports' Digital Lab does groundbreaking privacy research: they're hiring for eight positions including technologists ("resident hacker," "digital standard manager," "information security researcher," "program manager, security and testing," and "privacy testing project leader"); journalists ("digital content manager"); policy and comms ("senior researcher, digital competition" and "associate director, strategic communications — technology and privacy"). Most of […]
[Rosemary Frei is an independent journalist who broke the story that Google's Sidewalk Labs had quietly sewn up the rights to turn most of Toronto's lakeshore into a surveilling "smart city" (Google/Sidewalk lied about this at first, were cornered, admitted it, and rolled back the plan). Now she's back with a report on last night's […]
A Pew Study found that 60% of Americans believe that they are being continuously tracked by companies and the government, 69% mistrust the companies doing the tracking, 80% believe that advertisers and social media sites are collecting worrisome data, 79% think the companies lie about breaches, and 80% believe that nothing they do will make […]
The hardest part of web design can be nailing down the look. These days, even non-designers can easily spot a stale stock photo or lazily-made icon. What’s the solution? No matter what kind of artist you are, it’s always a good idea to widen your palette. And with more than a million vector images to […]
For all that tech that gets squeezed into them, the best wireless earbuds are ones we barely have to think about. That’s the whole point, right? We get wireless because we just want to hit play and have a hands-free, cordless soundtrack for the rest of the commute. If that’s your philosophy, definitely give these […]
Need a boost on that resume? Get a valuable tech education on your own time with these eBook bundles. They contain guides from Packt Publishing that cover everything from game development to machine learning. The Complete Mobile App Developer eBook Bundle It’s a veritable gold rush in the App Store these days. Get in on […]