IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUEST:
2) Please sign and circulate Amnesty Canada's call to action around surveillance at the Sidewalk Labs project! Can we get 500 #Blocksidewalk supporters to sign this and share with their networks?
October 15: Image from Amnesty Canada's letter writing campaign "Speak out About Smart City Human Rights Concerns"
Land Grab: Waterfront Toronto has scheduled a special meeting of its board at 12:15 on October 24th - right after the committee overseeing the Quayside bid will meet. Press reports (see below) indicate Sidewalk Labs is pressing Waterfront Toronto and Mayor Tory hard for additional public waterfront land not included in Waterfront Toronto's Quayside bid - at a steep discount - to relocate Google's Richmond Street branch office to prime waterfront land.
This is not how we do business in Toronto. We will be there to ask Waterfront Toronto to be strong stewards of our public assets. Please join us if you are able: 12 PM at 20 Bay Street, 13th Floor!
Climate change: Last week, The Guardian broke a news story outlining how Google and other Big Tech companies have sent "substantial" political contributions to organizations that "campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections." People close to the company suggested these contributions were made "to try to influence conservative lawmakers, and – most importantly – to help finance the de-regulatory agenda the groups espouse." Earlier this year, however, an investigative piece by Gizmodo revealed the direct ties between Google and other big tech companies to the oil and gas industry, aimed at "streamlining, improving, and rendering oil and gas extraction operations more profitable"
- At a packed Good Jobs for all Forum on October 1 on Sidewalk Labs, TTC Riders and Acorn Canada released critical analyses of the Sidewalk Labs' proposals;
- #BlockSidewalk supporters joined other Toronto allies in supporting the #NoTech4ICE campaign on October 3rd, calling out tech's role in deportations, detentions and family separations.
- In early October, #BlockSidewalk sent candidates for Federal office in downtown Toronto a series of questions about Sidewalk Labs. NDP candidates came out ahead with a strong position on Sidewalk Labs, on the heels of a report released during Ethics Committee hearings this summer. As we get responses from candidates, we are posting them on our webpage: https://www.blocksidewalk.ca/federalelection
- #BlockSidewalk has publicly called on Waterfront Toronto to disclose any new offers or amendments to Sidewalk Labs' MIDP.
3. UPCOMING ACTIONS
This week, Amnesty International launched a call to action around the Sidewalk Labs proposal. Citing concerns with the impact of widespread surveillance on human rights and freedom of association at the site, the Amnesty letter calls on decision makers from Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto to make sure "rights holders... have control over whether and how new tech is used, not big data."
Please sign and share with your networks!
If you have initiatives you'd like us to share, let us know: blocksidewalk.ca/contact
Tony Wong, "How do you regulate Big Tech in a digital age? We asked the four main political parties for their views." Toronto Star, October 2, 2019.
Julia Carrie Wong, "Google reportedly targeted people with 'dark skin' to improve facial recognition." The Guardian, October 3, 2019.
Tony Wong "Most Canadian voters think Big Tech is making society worse: poll." Toronto Star, October 6, 2019.
Jeff Gray, "In Quayside talks, Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto stumble on this patch of land." Globe and Mail, October 7, 2019.
Joshua Oliver, "Toronto Smart City project hinges on waterfront land compromise." Financial Times, October 9, 2019.
Alex Bozikovic, "There's plenty happening on the waterfront, aside from Sidewalk's plans." Globe and Mail, October 10, 2019
Mattias Sander, "Wem gehoert die Smart City? Toronto ringt mit dem Google-Konzern." Neue Zuericher Zeitung, October 10, 2019.
Catherine MacIntyre, "Waterfront Toronto schedules last-minute board meeting as Sidewalk deadline looms," The Logic, October 10, 2019.
Stephanie Kirschgaessner, "Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers." The Guardian, October 11, 2019.
Gregoire Allix, "A Toronto, "Google City" a quitte ou double." Le Monde, October 11, 2019.