Sidewalk walks into a lawsuit
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has mounted a legal challenge to halt the construction of a smart city in Toronto. The lawsuit aims to end a contract between municipal agency Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs over possible violations of individuals’ rights to privacy, with the CCLA maintaining that the project will lead to constant surveillance.
Google-owned Sidewalk Labs was selected by the city to develop a large-scale, high-tech location in the city. The company says it wants to combine cutting-edge urban design and new digital technology to create ‘people-centred neighbourhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity’.
A leading privacy expert, Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's former privacy commissioner, left Sidewalk Labs late last year over privacy concerns. Her role had been to support the firm’s privacy-protecting measures into the design of the new zone where it plans to collect huge amounts of data.