"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."
Silicon Valley Rising
A coalition of labor, faith leaders, community based organizations and workers in the heart of Silicon Valley.
"Silicon Valley Rising stands in solidarity with our friends at #BlockSidewalk. We know firsthand the the power of communities coming together to hold tech accountable- here in Silicon Valley, we've spent the last two years campaigning so that Google's mega-campus in San Jose creates real opportunity and quality jobs for our communities, not more displacement and gentrification. In Toronto, the #BlockSidewalk fight is raising ciritical questions, ones that will set a precedent for who governs our cities, who benefits from our public lands and resources, and the role of surveillance technology in the public realm. We're proud to stand with our friends and allies as they fight for justice and demand better."
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”
NYC-based resistance to Google-affilated LinkNYC terminals that opportunity for surveillance, data collection and corporate profit boxed and marketed as free WiFi.
“The tech industry has smart-washed whole cities & employees. But people are waking up. #GoogleIsLinkNYC can never "bridge the digital divide" (an effort to conjure some sort of social ethics) when the basis is sucking the public dry of its 'urban data' to make a few ultra rich. #BlockSidewalk.”
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."
The City Institute at York University (CITY)
An interdisciplinary institute of urban scholars at York University.
“Let’s build cities from our civic needs up, not from the internet on down. Corporations tend to build dystopias, not communities” Roger Keil
Berlin-based resistance to Google and its proposed Berlin campus
"In Berlin we demonstrated that through decentralized efforts, deep local solidarity and relentless sharing of knowledge, entire neighborhoods can become strong enough to defeat -even if symbolically- the strongest of the colossus. To the colossus, its "public image" is more precious than anything, and by exposing its deeds we collectively make it melt like snow in the sun... We strongly believe that Toronto can win against Alphabet/Sidewalk Labs and their plan to take over our lives and spaces! From Berlin to Toronto, to Queens, to SF, San Jose or Rennes, you can count on our undivided love, attention and solidarity! Stärke, Mut und Solidarität!"Fuck off Alphabet/Google &co"
Alejandra Ruiz Vargas, ACORN Canada
An independent national organization of low and moderate income families with 130,000+ members in 20+ neighbourhood chapters across 9 cities.
“We need the waterfront to be a place built for the needs of Toronto residents, not a private corporation – to be a place that can offer good jobs, truly affordable housing and a safe, inclusive community for all Torontonians.”
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
An organization devoted to protecting and defending Canada’s rich culture and the healthy democracy it sustains.
"Silicon Valley has shown its destructive potential by obliterating cultural and information industries - especially quality news. But now they’re jumping off the screen, and all Canadians should be concerned. We live in an era where a hotel is not a hotel, a broadcaster is not a broadcaster, and a developer isn’t a developer. By rolling out the red carpet for unaccountable and exploitative American tech firms, our government is ceding Canadian sovereignty to Silicon Valley. It’s time to BlockSidewalk. It’s time for Canadian leaders to enforce our laws and protect the rights of Canadian citizens. When it comes to our democracy, we get to choose.”
Daniel Bernhard, Executive Director, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting