Briefing

Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) files legal challenge against Waterfront Toronto

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The official filing follows through with comments the CCLA made in a three-page open letter on March 5, which called for a “reset” of Waterfront Toronto’s Quayside project. The announcement came after Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff took the stage at a Canadian Club luncheon, where he was interviewed by BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang. Doctoroff repeated the company’s proposal of financing waterfront transit, saying, “We prefer not to, to be perfectly honest,” but “we think it might be necessary.” (The Logic)

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Talking point: “Unlawful surveillance is wrong whether done by data profiteers or the state,” said Michael Bryant, CCLA’s executive director, in the release. In response to Lang’s questioning about the filing, Doctoroff stressed the difference between Google and Sidewalk Labs, and said that the issue of data collection is not just relevant to the Quayside project, but that it’s an issue “that we are confronting in every day of our lives.” Waterfront Toronto said the CCLA’s claims cannot be assessed, as it hasn’t yet received Sidewalk Labs’ final plan. It also defended its approach to privacy and data governance. “We hope that the CCLA will come to the table and work constructively with us, rather than diverting resources to a court case,” said Meg Davis, chief development officer, in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that once again the CCLA has chosen to mischaracterize our work and our engagement with the people of Toronto,” said Keerthana Rang, a spokesperson for Sidewalk Labs, in a statement to The Logic.