Blog

Feb 19
2019

Toronto's Leadership Dithers While Sidewalk Labs Plans City Revenue Grab


The ‘smart city’ proposal, concocted by Google-affiliated Sidewalk Labs behind the backs not only of citizens but of all our elected officials, was leaked to the Toronto Star on Thursday Feb. 15. 


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Tuesday February 19, 2019

Smart Cities

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Jan 28
2019

Winning the battle but losing the war: Your Ward News conviction a win against hate? 


The editor and publisher of Your Ward News willfully promoted hatred against Jews and women. This is both a plainly obvious conclusion to draw after a 30 second review of the "paper" and the decision of a recent criminal case against the editor and publisher. While much of the public response to the conviction has celebrated it as a victory against hate, history may prove otherwise. 


By Abbas Kassam / Posted Monday January 28, 2019

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Jan 14
2019

What Is a Data Trust and Why Are We Even Talking About It? Sidewalk Labs’ Magic Tricks


Sidewalk Labs, a unit of Google’s parent company, with a big assist from Waterfront Toronto, started their career in magic over a year ago. They directed our collective attention to artsy pictures of imaginary buildings and gadgets – and away from anything financial. And anything legal. 


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Monday January 14, 2019

Smart Cities

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Jan 7
2019

THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA’S VICE MEDIA DECISION: THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY AND THE QUESTIONS THAT REMAIN.


On November 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in the closely watched VICE appeal.  The big question at the heart of VICE was simple:  when will courts compel the media to give police material relating to a journalist’s previously published communications with non-confidential sources for the police to use against those sources?  


By Justin Safayeni / Posted Monday January 7, 2019

Freedom of the Press

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Dec 19
2018

Ontario’s Colleges Embrace Free Speech, Or Do They?


Unlike universities, Ontario’s colleges have resisted making explicit commitments to academic freedom for academic staff and to affirming the foundational importance of freedom of expression for the work of the college.


By James L Turk / Posted Wednesday December 19, 2018

Academic Freedom

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Dec 11
2018

Are there limits to the criticism or ridicule of religion?


The European Court of Human Rights in the recent judgment of E.S. v. Austria, ECHR 360 (2018) held that the conviction of woman in Austria for denigrating a person who is an object of veneration under the Austrian Criminal Code did not breach Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.


By Richard Moon / Posted Tuesday December 11, 2018

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Dec 4
2018

Public Lands, Private Control, and Housing Needs in the "Smart City" Quayside Development


For over a year, Google’s Sidewalk Labs has flooded the Internet with watercolour images of bits of a future ‘smart city’ neighbourhood in Toronto’s Quayside district. But unlike normal developers, Sidewalk Labs has yet to make a complete and formal application to the planning department and city council. And citizens do not have any details about the business plan for the proposed development.


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Tuesday December 4, 2018

Smart Cities

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Dec 3
2018

Mystery on the Waterfront: How the "Smart City" Allure Led a Major Public Agency in Toronto Into a Reckless Deal with Big Tech


Once upon a time, Waterfront Toronto (WT) was a high-profile public agency that had largely succeeded in combining enthusiastic support for upscale waterfront condos with a progressive civic agenda – no mean feat in an age of increasing political polarization and urban inequality. For example, zoning bylaws for waterfront developments, put in place before any condo building be designed, require at least 20% of affordable housing.


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Monday December 3, 2018

Co-written by Alexandra Flynn

Smart Cities

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Nov 28
2018

A dialogue with fear


What are we teaching kids about freedom of expression? Are we teaching them to use it or to be very careful around it?


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Wednesday November 28, 2018

Teachers & Students Speech Rights

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Nov 22
2018

When is a Mayor Not a Mayor? Public vs. Private in Twitter Blocking


There’s been a ceasefire in the “legal Twitter war” between Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and three people who sued him for blocking them from his Twitter account.  The three plaintiffs argued that in blocking them, Mayor Watson was violating their constitutional right to free expression.  

Eventually Watson and the plaintiffs reached a legal settlement.  But initially the Mayor’s position was that he would fight the suit on the grounds that the Twitter account in question was held in his personal and not mayoral capacity and therefore, constitutional rights weren’t applicable.  


By Micheal Vonn / Posted Thursday November 22, 2018

Government & Corporate Transparency

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