The opposition to Sidewalk Labs was relentless from citizens and citizen groups from its inception. Today, we have the announcement that the planned “high-tech neighbourhood of the future“ along Toronto’s eastern waterfront is dead. This would have been Canada’s first genuine so-called SmartCity built from the ground up.
Here’s what critics are saying:
“This is a major victory for the responsible citizens who fought to protect Canada’s #democracy, civil and digital rights, as well as the economic development opportunity,” said Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research in Motion and a vocal critic of the project.
"Waterfront Toronto never had the jurisdiction to sign off on a data surveillance test bed with a Google sibling. Serious harms to privacy would have been our future. The current Canadian regulatory landscape simply lacks modernized privacy legislation to provide essential safeguards to protect residents and visitors from the kinds of ubiquitous and intensive sensor-laden infrastructure that was envisaged. So, the project was fundamentally flawed from the outset. Now we as a society have a chance to fix that privacy deficit and provide the right foundation to consider how, where, and when technology can be used to meet real city needs, as expressed and experienced by residents. " -- Canadian Civil Liberties Association