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With communication increasingly taking place online, issues related on Internet access, broadband availability and affordability, public and private regulation of social media and its use, and the practices and policies of major online platforms have become central to the state of expressive freedom and public discourse that underpins democracy.

Blog August 6, 2019

“Urban Data” & “Civic Data Trusts” in the Smart City

On June 24, Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google, released its three-volume, 1,500-page Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) containing its draft proposals for a smart-city project in Toronto. This post focuses Sidewalk Labs’ discussion of “Creating a Trusted Process for Responsible Data Use” (Part 3 of a chapter on “Digital Innovation” -- Volume 2, Chapter 5--) (Volume 2, Chapter 5. Part 3 proposes the use of a “civic data trust” to govern the “urban data” generated within the proposed smart city project area. 
Blog July 2, 2019

The Google ‘Smart City’ Plan: Financial Language of Hi-Tech Colonialism

George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English language” is my suggested summer reading for Toronto city councillors and anyone interested in the ‘smart city’ plan that Sidewalk Labs/Google has proposed for Toronto’s waterfront. This is where you can peruse the multi-volume work, but if plowing through googlespeak for 1500 pages doesn’t appeal, you can instead read the informative ‘