Controversy surrounds a smart city initiative in Toronto run by Sidewalk Labs and backed by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. The primary concern is over privacy and how data will be collected, reported The Daily Swig. As urban growth and innovation come to fruition in this “smart city of tomorrow,” sensors will be monitoring every aspect of life east of the downtown core in Toronto in the name of “sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.”
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) filed a lawsuit in April 2019 against Sidewalk Labs and all three levels of government — federal, provincial, and municipal, who approved the project, according to The Daily Swig. The CCLA is concerned with the model for profit-driven surveillance, which it says is in direct conflict with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it pertains to personal and collective privacy rights.
There are benefits to smart cities, like traffic flow and energy management. However, there needs to be greater transparency on how the data will be used and most importantly, protected, argued The Daily Swig
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