Google's secretive, data-hungry private city within Toronto will be much larger than previously disclosed


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/12/17/harbourfront-and-cn-tower.html


#2

Surprised the Ontario office of the Privacy Commissioner has nothing to say on this matter. Or do they just tweet about privacy by design but do nothing of substance?


#3

I thought that maybe they didn’t have the power to do so under the act, but unless there are some extremely cryptic interpretations of words in the act, they definitely do. FIPPA section 59

Perhaps they are waiting to be spurred to do so by a complaint from an affected Ontarian.


#4

The more I hear about this project, the more it sounds like the city council has either dropped the ball when it comes to oversight or is complicit in pushing it forward no matter what.

Those who want to be guinea pigs in Google’s panopticon of the future are welcome to do so when this “Quayside” development is built, but the people living and working in the larger “Designated Waterfront Area” never consented to be part of this secretive experiment.


#5

Insert quote from Snow Crash here…


#6

A lot of that map looks like parks. Remind me why a park needs to be…smart?


#7

If affordable housing is part of this development, it means there will be people living in the area who technically could choose to live elsewhere but practically couldn’t find any other affordable housing. Making poor people consent to questionable things in order to access the necessities of life is base.

I’m not a person who understands the tech world but since the map includes Union Station, I can only imagine that the huge quantity of data they could gather there would be very valuable.


#8

fucking outrageous


#9

Isn’t like 40% of Canada in Ontario? Maybe some of them are even… in this very thread :wink:


#10

Swans need wifi?

eta: The Leslie Spit aka Tom Thompson Park is landfill out into Lake Ontario. They should have stopped accepting new landfill a few years ago, so there will be less bricks visible now. It’s a nice ~11 km walk to the end and back.

On the Beltway hike to the Don Valley brickworks, you can see the hole that most of the bricks came from.


#11

Was it Shadowrun where one of the dystopian megacorps’ relationships with its subordinate government was codified in a classified section of that government’s constitution; or am I getting my grimdark futures muddled?


#12

Neal Stephenson also wrote about cryptocurrencies in 1999. Be it so resolved, the man is a warlock of some description and should probably be burned.

Just in case.


#13

It’s worse than that. 50% of all Canadians live on the tiny strip of land between Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario upon which Toronto is found.


#14


#15

I find your conjecture plausible.

There are plenty of affordable housing units in the area marked on that map.


#16

There are a lot but “plenty” implies that there might be enough to house the people who need them. There are tens of thousands of households on the waiting list for subsidized housing in Toronto. We were over 80,000 households waiting at the end of 2015. It doesn’t matter where you put affordable housing buildings, there will be people waiting for those units.

There are affordable housing units already in the city but people are already living in them. For the people moving into any new construction within this area, the vacant affordable housing units are a rare opportunity.


#17

So far from god, so close to Lake Erie. Truly a hellish existence.

Thoughts and prayers.


#18

To provide the data that “proves” the park really isn’t used that much, costs too much, is a potential health/environmental risk because reasons - and should be developed as real estate.


Sorting the spin from the facts: how big can the surveilling city that Sidewalk Labs plans for Toronto get?
#19

Focusing just on the part of land that has been approved for Google, there will apparently be 40% of it going to affordable housing. Without Google’s involvement, it likely wouldn’t be this high. Basically Google will be the one subsidizing it.

Now it would be great if the federal, provincial or municipal government would do a better job in funding affordable housing, but unfortunately that’s not the case. A quick search online says in 2017, the backlog to fix existing affordable housing in Toronto is $1.6 billion and growing.

I have a hard time believing this map is correct. As I don’t think anyone has the permission to go as far as include the area into Union Station. The outcry among people and business would likely be absolutely huge. Right now Google is dealing with Waterfront Toronto, an organization which has been trying to fix up the eastern side of the waterfront. They have a small chunk of land that used to be very industrial and how the city has been trying to clean up and develop it. Google has gotten approval for a chunk of the allotted land and has been looking to expand to include the rest of the land that Waterfront Toronto is overseeing.

I wonder if someone got confused between Waterfront Toronto the organization and what they have control over versus the whole actual waterfront area in Toronto.


#20

Their website says “40 percent below-market rate housing, including a minimum of 20 percent affordable housing”. Considering that the City defines affordable housing as “at or below Average Market Rent” I don’t think this is any great boon to affordable housing unless I see something more concrete about actual rent levels. I’d say they’ll have 20% of the units at 100% of CMHC’s Average Market Rents and another 20% at 80% of the AMR.

Obviously there needs to be more funding for affordable housing across the board but we’re developing it already with subsidies like Toronto’s Open Door program and the CMHC co-investment fund. It’s not necessary to sell out tenant data in order to build it. And for us to get that, we agree to keep the entire building at or below 100% AMR, not just 40%. To get co-investment we need 30% of the building to be at 80% AMR.

Sometimes what we need is a retooling of the existing funding programs and planning permissions process to get it done. The City will fast-track the process for affordable housing developments but I’d put money on Google getting an easier ride through the City processes than any current affordable housing provider trying to redevelop. And I’m willing to bet the City will bend a lot more rules to get them there.