Briefing

Sidewalk Labs releases new digital strategy after Waterfront Toronto raises data concerns

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The 482-page Digital Innovation Appendix goes into more detail on the Google sister company’s plans for Toronto’s eastern waterfront, including technologies for heating sidewalks, crosswalk sensors and modular curbs that shift with the flow of traffic. It divides the initiatives into 52 “subsystems,” 13 of which it would create and 28 of which would be procured by separate companies. Twenty-one of the subsystems would collect data. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The company pledges that data it collects will only be used for technologies that will benefit people by, for example, improving mobility and energy use in the neighbourhood. It says it will use the minimum amount of data necessary, and the least invasive technology to achieve that goal. However, it still lacks detail on aspects of the smart-city development, like where and how many sensors will be used and what it means to have people give explicit consent for the use of their data. If Waterfront does not approve the plan by March 31, 2020,the project will be cancelled.