Blog

Oct 30
2019

A public-partnership for secrecy? Waterfront Toronto’s ‘smart city’ ongoing discussions with Sidewalk Labs


The Google-affiliated American company Sidewalk Labs’ 1500-page proposal for a smart city on Toronto’s eastern waterfront has received plenty of criticism since its release in late June.


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Wednesday October 30, 2019

Smart Cities - Connected Communities

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Oct 28
2019

Kids, Criminals, and the Artist in the Classroom


Imagine that your child has a teacher who likes to invite guest musicians, artists, and authors to her classroom. She is particularly interested in having the students learn about diversity and inclusion.

In order to keep your child and others in the school safe, the school board, like many in Canada, requires all guests who will interact with students to undergo a police check. Because the students are under the age of eighteen, this is called a “vulnerable sector police records check.”


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Monday October 28, 2019

Teachers & Students Speech Rights

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Oct 17
2019

Social Justice Requires Intellectual Freedom - Why the Toronto Public Library Should Refuse to Deplatform Meghan Murphy


Once again, the Toronto Public Library is under attack for upholding intellectual freedom. Some who find Feminist Current’s founder Meghan Murphy’s views offensive are demanding that the TPL abandon its principled commitment to intellectual freedom by withdrawing the space at a branch library it has rented to sponsors of Murphy’s upcoming talk on "Gender Identity: What does It Mean for Society, the Law and Women?"


By James L Turk / Posted Thursday October 17, 2019

Intellectual Freedom

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Sep 27
2019

New Hotline to Assist Students Approached by CSIS Addresses a Problem Neither New nor Unprecedented


Co-Authored by Nader Hasan

On November 12, 2018, the University of Toronto’s student newspaper, The Varsity, reported that Muslim Student Association executives had been regularly receiving surprise visits from RCMP and CSIS agents regularly since 2016. Since the events of 9/11 in the United States, security and intelligence officials have taken an interest in Muslim Students Associations (MSAs) across universities in both Canada and the United States.


By Anver M. Emon / Posted Friday September 27, 2019

Academic Freedom, State Surveillance

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Sep 18
2019

Free to express yourself outside of work? Workplace discipline in the age of social media


Barely a day goes by without reading a new story about employees being punished, fined, fired or shamed for engaging in online conversations about the workplace. Social media is radically transforming the relationship between employees and their employers in a host of ways not the least of which is its capacity to simultaneously augment peoples’ ability to express their voice and employers’ ability to monitor and discipline employees. 


By Charles Smith / Posted Wednesday September 18, 2019

Co-written by Daniel J. Paré

Workplace Free Expression

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Aug 15
2019

Can Public Libraries Maintain Their Commitment to Intellectual Freedom in the Face of Outrage over Unpopular Speakers?


An unprecedented number of public disputes have erupted across Canada in recent years about meeting room bookings and speaker’s events in the country’s public libraries. Most disturbingly, critics have ignored, disparaged, and frequently rebuffed the time-honoured commitments of Canadian public libraries to freedom of expression and unfettered access to library services.


By Alvin M. Schrader / Posted Thursday August 15, 2019

Censorship, Intellectual Freedom

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Aug 6
2019

“Urban Data” & “Civic Data Trusts” in the Smart City


On June 24, Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google, released its three-volume, 1,500-page Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) containing its draft proposals for a smart-city project in Toronto. This post focuses Sidewalk Labs’ discussion of “Creating a Trusted Process for Responsible Data Use” (Part 3 of a chapter on “Digital Innovation” -- Volume 2, Chapter 5--) (Volume 2, Chapter 5. Part 3 proposes the use of a “civic data trust” to govern the “urban data” generated within the proposed smart city project area. 


By Natasha Tusikov / Posted Tuesday August 6, 2019

Smart Cities - Connected Communities

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Jul 10
2019

Does Bailing Out Media Equal Controlling the Press?


You will likely have seen quite a few opinion pieces lately about what’s being called variously the “Canadian” media bailout, the “government” media bailout and the “Liberal” media bailout. 

So, yes, there’s a media bailout afoot. 


By John Degen / Posted Wednesday July 10, 2019

Freedom of the Press

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Jul 2
2019

The Google ‘Smart City’ Plan: Financial Language of Hi-Tech Colonialism


George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English language” is my suggested summer reading for Toronto city councillors and anyone interested in the ‘smart city’ plan that Sidewalk Labs/Google has proposed for Toronto’s waterfront. This is where you can peruse the multi-volume work, but if plowing through googlespeak for 1500 pages doesn’t appeal, you can instead read the informative ‘


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Tuesday July 2, 2019

Smart Cities - Connected Communities

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Jun 27
2019

Censorship Has No Place in the University


Recent events at the University of British Columbia show again the powerful allure of censorship as the way to deal with deeply concerning social issues. In this case, the issue is sexual identity and gender identity.


By James L Turk / Posted Thursday June 27, 2019

Academic Freedom, Censorship

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