"Speaking in my professional capacity as a dystopian science fiction writer, I'm here to tell you that it is *obviously* a terrible idea to let vast, opaque multinational corporations privatise huge swathes of our city, webbing them with surveillance sensors and subjecting them to opaque, unaccountable algorithmic analysis and interventions. Honestly, it's alarming that this even needs saying."
Scholar. Activist. Prof Emerita Harvard Business School. Author, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
"Toronto's BlockSidewalk campaign marks the frontline of an historic contest between surveillance capitalism and democracy. The city has been and must remain the public space in which citizens learn and practice democracy as neighbors with shared and varied interests. It embodies the many voices of its people in public debate and collaboration under the democratic rule of law. We need a future in which cities can benefit from data and digital technologies, but all of it agreed, owned, and operated by and for residents in an open and transparent democracy. In sharp contrast, the Sidewalk/Google future turns the city into data flows owned and operated by private surveillance capital. Computation replaces democratic debate and deliberation. The city is reborn as a market project aimed at generating revenues for surveillance capitalists and their business customers. A thriving city includes business, but it is not itself a business. BlockSidewalk understands that a surveillance capitalist city is incompatible with democratic citizen rule."
International Digital Placemaker; Founder, The Wise City
“I support BlockSidewalk because local wise leaders are asking the deep new paradigm questions good ancestors must face now; the whole world is watching.”
Executive Director, Smart Citizen Foundation Latin America. Human Rights Lawyer and Advocate
“I endorse, support and celebrate the BlockSidewalk campaign. While Smart Cities networks are proliferating we are rapidly forming our own Rebel Cities networks where surveillance is rejected and participatory democracy is affirmed. Toronto is joining a network for a better future, human centric and rights preserving, today, before it is too late”
Author, The Smart Enough City: Putting Technology in Its Place to Reclaim Our Urban Future
"Sidewalk Toronto represents everything that's wrong with 'smart' cities: it treats technology as the solution to every problem, involves collecting unchecked amounts of data about the public, and means handing over control of public services to an unaccountable private company. BlockSidewalk is a ground-breaking campaign that will define the playbook for how civic action can resist corporate surveillance and control of twenty-first-century cities. The future of democratic and equitable cities will turn on the campaign's success."
“Let’s build cities from our civic needs up, not from the internet on down. Corporations tend to build dystopias, not communities” Roger Keil