Skip to Content
Smart cities

Activists are suing Canada over plans to build a smart city in Toronto

April 18, 2019

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has filed a legal challenge against all three levels of the country’s government in a bid to put a stop to the scheme led by Sidewalk Labs, a Google subsidiary.

Specifically: The lawsuit seeks to end a contract between Waterfront Toronto (a municipal organization) and Sidewalk Labs that would see the two work together to build a futuristic, sensor-filled neighborhood in the city. Proposals include traffic lights that track pedestrians, robots that transport garbage through underground tunnels, and driverless shuttle buses.

However: The proposals were met with concern right from the start, and the CCLA says the plans would violate individuals’ rights to privacy. The lawsuit questions whether “meaningful consent” can really be gained for the scheme, which it says will in effect amount to constant surveillance.

What’s next: In a statement, Waterfront Toronto said the scheme is too early in its progress for CCLA’s claims to be assessed. We’ll have to wait and see whether Ontario’s judges agree.

Sign up here to get your dose of the latest must-read news from the world of emerging tech in our daily newsletter The Download. 

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.