Our privacy is not the tech companies’ commodities

For those of us who have championed the human right of privacy, in Canada and abroad, it was a reassuring moment to hear of former Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian’s decision to leave the Sidewalk Labs project – at least until they could provide for her more confidence that they were building meaningful privacy protection into their design. It must not have been an easy decision.

In the meantime,  an opinion piece in Canada’s Globe and Mail , Sidewalk Lab attorney David Fraser, offers a somewhat disconcerting comment,

” The reality is that questions around privacy did not begin with Sidewalk Labs. Most Canadian cities are full of sensors and we have no idea what is there, what they do and what data they collect. Each municipality that puts those sensors into place is convinced that they comply with the law, but they are not transparent and there is little accountability”


For my part, I will welcome more enthusiastic signs that Silicon Valley is genuinely prepared to address the scrutiny they deserve. (See UK Select Committee and Facebook) https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46042885

While we are busy protecting our democracies from some of these technology companies, https://www.technologyreview.com/magazine/2018/09/ as citizens we also need to protect our human rights and now ask questions of our own communities.

Future generations are depending on us to get it right.

Loreena McKennitt

(BTW, congratulations to the Google employees, the world over, for protesting against the culture of sexual harassment in their workplace.)


related links:

Our data, ourselves:

FOREIGN AFFAIRS https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/07/16/our-data-ourselves-democracy-technology-algorithms/

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