“The latest warning sign for cities who are considering signing over public spaces to major tech companies.”

Toronto, a city of surveillance


Mon, Nov 19th, 2018 09:32 by capnasty NEWS

Sidewalk Labs' plan in turning Toronto's Quayside into a smart city of the future is no stranger to controversy and its concept of letting a city become a test bed for corporations should serve as a warning to any other city thinking of doing this. Maybe this is why the employees of tech giants are questioning their employer's moral compass.

From the start, activists, technology researchers, and some government officials have been skeptical about the idea of putting Google, or one of its sister companies, in charge of a city. Their suspicions about turning part of Toronto into a corporate test bed were triggered, at first, by the company’s history of unethical corporate practices and surreptitious data collection. They have since been borne out by Quayside’s secret and undemocratic development process, which has been plagued by a lack of public input — what one critic has called “a colonizing experiment in surveillance capitalism attempting to bulldoze important urban, civic and political issues.” In recent months, a series of prominent resignations from advisory board members, along with organized resistance from concerned residents, have added to the growing public backlash against the project.



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