Platform Cooperativism Resource Library


Monday, Waterfront Toronto publicly released Sidewalk Labs’ much-anticipated Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP)— essentially, their smart city proposal for Quayside. There are already, and hopefully there will be many more, hot takes on the deal. Here, instead, I’m hoping to synthesize and update a few cold takes — specifically on the data governance component of the proposal, building on my initial analysis on the “Civic Data Trust” proposal, and my independent expert testimony in the Canadian Civil Liberties Association law suit against Waterfront.

Here’s the TL; DR: The data governance proposal is among the shortest, least developed, and virtually unchanged parts of the MIDP. In and of itself, that’s a fairly bleak indication of how seriously Sidewalk Labs takes privacy, digital fairness, and data governance in Quayside. Substantively, their data governance proposal is more of a workflow for granting licenses to collect data without public consent, than a credible steward of the public’s interest amidst a massive increase in surveillance.

Added May 12, 2020