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Advisory panels to ensure data security at Quayside

DCN News Services
Advisory panels to ensure data security at Quayside

TORONTO — In moves to stem fears of intrusive data collection at Sidewalk Labs’ planned Quayside community in Toronto, both Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto have convened separate advisory groups to help in the formation of data privacy policy for Quayside.

Several recent media reports have quoted critics saying they have concerns over how data collected at Quayside will be used.

Last month, Waterfront Toronto announced the formation of a Digital Strategy Advisory Panel, an arms-length body intended to “help guide Waterfront Toronto on how best to incorporate data privacy, digital systems and the safe and ethical use of new technologies in the next phase of waterfront revitalization,” said a media statement.

The panel will “initially advise Waterfront Toronto on policies and strategies related to the Quayside project that was launched in fall 2017.”

Features of the new community announced in the fall include housing and workplaces for tens of thousands, “climate-positive energy systems that can deliver a new standard in sustainability,” self-driving transit and affordable homes constructed using new building techniques that can lower housing costs.

The recent Waterfront Toronto statement said its new panel will promote local technology innovators and foster new partnerships among government, private, academic and not-for-profit organizations.

“The panel will support Waterfront Toronto’s team to ensure, among other things, that the individual privacy rights of those who will live, learn, work and visit Quayside will be protected,” said Waterfront Toronto.

Michael Geist, law professor and Canada research chair in Internet and e-commerce law at the University of Ottawa, will serve as interim chair of the Waterfront Toronto advisory group until the panel holds its initial meeting, the statement said.

Days after the group was announced, Sidewalk Toronto, a joint project of Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto, unveiled its own Data Governance Advisory Working Group that will offer “guidance on a full range of issues relating to responsible data use,” said a statement.

The Sidewalk Toronto planning process will result in a Master Innovation and Development Plan, to be released at the end of 2018, that will lay out “detailed programmatic plans” for the waterfront.

One component of the plan will be a Responsible Data Use Policy, which will govern the collection and use of data, said the statement.

Among the advisers to the Sidewalk Toronto panel will be Ann Cavoukian, former information and privacy commissioner of Ontario.

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