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Google's Smart-City Plans 'Tech for Tech's Sake'

By BBC News

September 19, 2019

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An independent panel has criticized a smart-city development planned by Google's Sidewalk Labs unit on Toronto's waterfront, citing innovations that the panel says are more about "tech for tech's sake" than for citizens' benefit.

The panel, organized by Waterfront Toronto, included academics, urban technology specialists, and legal experts.

The group said the plan "did not appear to put the citizen at the center of the design process for digital innovations, as was promised in the beginning and is necessary for legitimacy."

The panel added that many of the challenges presented by the area to be developed could be addressed with simpler solutions.

In response, Sidewalk Labs announced an upcoming Digital Innovation Appendix to list planned innovations, their relevance to Toronto's technology ecosystem, and the company's research on data governance.

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