Toronto cops can frequently get your public transit history without a warrant

Metrolinx, the provincial agency that supplies the Presto cards used to pay for public transit rides in Toronto, has continued to hand over riders' travel history to Toronto-area cops without asking for a warrant. Read the rest

Sorting the spin from the facts: how big can the surveilling city that Sidewalk Labs plans for Toronto get?

Cory published a writeup of my research showing Google offshoot Sidewalk Labs’ plan to build a surveilling city in Toronto involves a much, much larger chunk of land than publicly disclosed (in fact about 2,600 acres of prime Toronto waterfront!). It flushed out a response from the high-priced US PR firm Berlin Rosen, apparently acting on behalf of Sidewalk Labs: Read the rest

Google's secretive, data-hungry private city within Toronto will be much larger than previously disclosed

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. Read the rest

Toronto 2033: science fiction writers imagine the city of the future

Toronto 2033 is a shared-world science fiction anthology edited by the incomparable and multi-talented Jim Munroe (previously), where authors like Zainab Amadahy, Madeline Ashby, Al Donato, Kristyn Dunnion, Elyse Friedman, Paul Hong, Elan Mastai, Mari Ramsawakh, Karl Schroeder and Peter Watts were challenged to imagine a future for the city. Read the rest

CBC's longstanding tech columnist condemns the broadcaster's cozy relationship with Facebook

Jesse Hirsh the CBC Toronto's longstanding and deservedly respected tech columnist, a fixture for many words, interpreting the tech news of the day for the public broadcaster's nonexpert audience, explaining how tech's turns and twists are relevant to their lives. Read the rest

Advisor quits Google Toronto's "smart city" project over privacy concerns

Google sister company Sidewalk Labs is building a creepy, heavily surveilled "smart city" in the midst of Toronto. Read the rest

Court nukes Ontario's Trumpian government bid to gut Toronto city council

Doug Ford is the laughable bumblefuck who was elected Premier of Ontario by a roster of cheap Trumpian tricks and (literally) a promise to make beer cost $1 in the province (this promise was not fulfilled). Read the rest

Toronto's aural panic: why we need digital rights now

Last week, my city became a garbage fire. Within 48 hours of a mass shooting on Toronto's Danforth Avenue, City Council had passed a motion to purchase the American acoustic surveillance system ShotSpotter, making Toronto the first Canadian municipality to adopt the technology. As Americans already know, the system is designed to monitor "at risk" (read: poor and black) neighbourhoods for potential gunshots, which it geolocates and pushes to local law enforcement personnel for a substantial fee. Of course, ShotSpotter would have done nothing to prevent the tragedy on the Danforth and there are real questions about its effectiveness as a gunshot detection system, but why let facts get in the way of a rash political decision?

Toronto councillor praises gerrymandering plan to silence "left-leaning" voices in the city

Robbo Mills writes, "Speaking at a press conference at the Provincial Parliament in Queen’s Park on Monday, Toronto Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti said Premier Doug Ford’s plan to gut Toronto City Council is a good move because it would silence 'left-leaning' voices on council. Read the rest

Trumpian Ontario premier Doug Ford will gut Toronto's city council to punish his Tory rivals

Doug Ford, AKA Laughable Bumblefuck II, won the Ontario provincial elections with a cowardly, trumpian campaign that kicked off with a bitter leadership race within his own party, whose top spot was up for grabs because the previous leader was accused of getting young party activists drunk and then having sex with them. Read the rest

Rob Ford's brother is running for Ontario Premier, but Rob Ford's widow is suing him for stealing millions from the family

Rob Ford was Toronto's laughable, deplorable crack-addict mayor; his brother is a far-right Trump figure, running for Premier of Ontario (having stolen the party leadership through dirty tricks), who created literal fake news when he hired a pretend reporter to follow him on the campaign trail and ask him softball questions. Read the rest

Toronto cops eat drugs, freak out, and charged with Attempting to Obstruct Justice

If you’re a cop who calls for backup to save you from drug-induced hallucinations, you’re going to have a bad year.

This past January, Toronto Police Service Constable Vittorio Dominelli and his partner, whose name has yet to be released, were on duty when, allegedly, they decided to chow down on some marijuana-laced edibles. Apparently, they snatched up the Scooby snacks during a raid on a pot dispensary.

It is here that Toronto radio station News Talk 1010 reported that shit began to get weird:

… after carrying out a warrant at a local dispensary Saturday night, two officers, still on the clock, ingested marijuana-infused goodies meant to be taken from the scene as evidence. When they didn't feel the effects of the drugs right away, the pair ate more. Then more.

And then the drugs kicked in.

Oh, and kick in they did: while sitting in their cruiser, the pair of police began tripping balls. Their high was so rough that they called an ambulance and, in a panic, their station house, saying that they needed assistance. For the uninitiated, an officer assistance call is taken very seriously. Any cop in the area that’s not on call, and sometimes, even if they are on a call, will drop what they’re doing and come a-running, full speed, as if the officer who made that call’s life depended on it – because it often does. When backup arrived, one of the dope-addled cops burst from his cruiser and took off running, with responding officers in tow. Read the rest

Bumblefuck Watch: Rob Ford's brother hired his own "reporter" to ask him scripted softball questions for literal fake news spots

Doug Ford -- alleged hashish kingpin and brother to the dead, racist, violent, sexist, rapey crackhead ex-Toronto-Mayor Rob Ford -- stole the nomination to lead the Ontario Conservatives in an upcoming provincial race. Read the rest

Lone Canadian cop takes down alleged mass murderer without firing a shot

I was getting on a plane in Toronto yesterday when I heard the news that a van had been intentionally driven into a crowd of people. By the time I landed a few hours later in Calgary, word was that 10 people lost their lives in the attack. Just under 20 were wounded. I assumed that if he was found by the authorities, the alleged driver of the van would be toast. He or she would have no chance to be tried by a jury of peers; no option to stand before a judge. There'd be no justice, save what a bullet, by the driver's own hand or that of a police office, could afford.

This morning when I woke, I was amazed to see that this was not the case. A single Toronto Police Service constable managed to capture a suspect alive in the murder of those ten unfortunate souls. Despite the fact that the suspect menaced the officer, his demanded to be killed, and constantly reached for a firearm – which turned out not to have been there – the suspect ended up in handcuffs instead of a body bag.

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation's got what little footage of the event there is, along with commentary on how a police service that was once known for its heavy-handed tactics identified its aggression as a problem and fought to change its ways. Through frequent deescalation courses, Toronto's Police Service is changing its officer's responses to violent situations, slowly, but with measurable success. Read the rest

Romance writers sought for library residency at my former Toronto workplace

I was a teenaged page at the North York Central Library in suburban Toronto, working in the Business and Urban Affairs section, shelving books, taping together newspapers while we waited for their microfilm versions to arrive, and fiddling around with the newly installed (and poorly documented) computerised catalogue/lending system -- I worked there with many other would-be writers, like Nalo Hopkinson, who was a public service clerk a few floors down. Read the rest

Psychiatrist who "cured" gays busted for gay sex with clients

Since last time I wrote about Toronto's leading role in "reparative therapy" for curing LGBT people, the worst gender clinic was shut down and its head was fired. Now another "expert" had his license suspended after having sex with men he claimed he was "curing" of homosexuality. Read the rest

Toronto's real estate market is imploding

Toronto is one of the many great world cities that has been rendered nearly unlivable by real-estate speculation, both from onshore investors and offshore ones. Read the rest

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