former privacy commissioner has resigned from her
consulting role at a company that is preparing to build a high-tech
community at Toronto’s waterfront, citing concerns that a privacy
framework she developed is being overlooked.
Cavoukian resigned from her role from Google sister company Sidewalk
Labs on Friday to “make a strong statement” she told Global News.
felt I had no choice because I had been told by Sidewalk Labs that all
of the data collected will be de-identified at source,” she said.
last Thursday, at a meeting, she said she found out that wasn’t the
case with the company, which invested $40 million to develop
technology for a downtown Toronto smart city project.
is selling ‘authoritarian surveillance’ tech to police, civil
rights groups want it to stop
said while they would commit to doing it, the other parties involved
in these new entities they’ve created…they couldn’t make them do it,”
October, Waterfront Toronto announced it had chosen Sidewalk Labs to
present a plan to design a high-tech neighbourhood for the Quayside
development, which is along Toronto’s eastern waterfront.
then, the proposed project has been mired in controversy.
Blackberry co-CEO Jim Balsillie called the project “a colonizing
experiment in surveillance capitalism.”
Toronto development from Google’s Sidewalk Labs sparks concerns
is one of Canada’s foremost privacy experts and a proponent for
ensuring the privacy rights of citizens.
personal information, your privacy is critical. It is not just a
fundamental human right. It forms the foundation of our freedom,”
the meeting with Sidewalk Labs, Cavoukian said she realized she could
no longer continue as a consultant with the project after hearing that
third parties might have access to identifiable data collected in the
proposed project. At that point, she balked.
I heard that, I said’ I’m sorry. I can’t support this. I have to
resign because you committed to embedding privacy by design into every
aspect of your operation,'” she said.
Labs released a statement that said it would play “a more limited
role” in discussions about data governance, and that while it agrees
to follow her framework, Sidewalk Labs cannot guarantee that other
companies involved in the project would do so as well.
Sidewalk Labs project in Toronto raises privacy, data concerns
said she has since approached Waterfront Toronto directly and is
hopeful that the body will insist that data collected is immediately
de-identified, drastically lowering the possibility that it could be
used without someone’s consent.
don’t want people worrying about where they’re coming and going. We
certainly don’t want a city of surveillance. That’s not on.”
— With files from Canadian Press