Note — Oct 07, 2018

Sidewalk Toronto Has only One Beneficiary, and It Is Not Toronto

Seen in → No.52

Source →

Adding to the chorus against the deal. I’m taking note of it because it’s by Jim Balsillie, a former chairman and co-CEO of Research In Motion (Blackberry), who’s bio here mentions that he “commercialized Canadian intellectual property in more than 150 countries.” Somewhat unusually for a smartcity piece, his opinion is framed around, and insist repeatedly on, Intellectual Property, referring multiple times to “IP and data.” The last quote below is quite a good encapsulation of the situation.

You can only commercialize IP or data when you own or control them. That’s why Sidewalk, as a recent Globe and Mail investigation revealed , is taking control to own all IP on this project. […]

A privately controlled “smart city” infrastructure upends traditional models of citizenship because you cannot opt out of a city or a society that practises mass surveillance. Foreign corporate interests tout new technocratic efficiencies while shrewdly occluding their unprecedented power grab. […]

A year later, we are at a point where a secretive, unelected, publicly funded corporation with no expertise in IP, data or even basic digital rights is in charge of navigating forces of urban privatization, algorithmic control and rule by corporate contract.