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Sidewalk Labs Submits Digital Innovation Appendix (DIA)

On October 31st, the Quayside project passed an important milestone as Waterfront Toronto’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to formally evaluate Sidewalk Labs’ Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP).

The proposal will be evaluated because Waterfront Toronto and Sidewalk Labs, were able to reach alignment on several key issues in the latter’s MIDP, including the need for greater clarity and detail on the digital and data privacy proposals.

If you have been following the project, you will know that digital and data privacy issues have been an important part of the Quayside conversation. As part of this conversation, Waterfront Toronto’s Digital Strategy Advisory Panel (DSAP) wrote a commentary on Sidewalk Labs’ initial proposal that raised a number of questions regarding the digital and data components. These included, when further details on specific innovations would be available, how data governance bodies would operate and be structured, and what opportunities for Canadian firms would exist in terms of patents and Intellectual Property.

Sidewalk Labs has now responded to feedback from a broad range of stakeholders submitting its Digital Innovation Appendix (DIA) to Waterfront Toronto. This will form the substantive material for our evaluation of the digital elements of the MIDP. The DIA was shared with our Digital Strategy Advisory Panel yesterday and is available here.

The Quayside project has entered the evaluation stage and Waterfront Toronto will be working to determine the extent innovations achieve our objectives for Quayside, what data will be needed to achieve them, and how public interest and privacy will be protected. As we move through the evaluation process both the public and DSAP will have the opportunity to offer feedback on what the DIA proposes.

The Digital Innovation Appendix provides Waterfront Toronto, our external experts in digital and data privacy issues, as well as the public with a list of the digital innovations that Sidewalk Labs is proposing for Quayside, as well as details on the digitally significant elements of the proposal.

The DIA also includes explanations of the purpose of each innovation, what data will need to be collected for the innovation to work, and how data will be used and protected.

New ideas are bound to spark debate, and the DIA is meant to answer many of the questions that the public, the DSAP, and Waterfront Toronto have raised to date.

For example, the MIDP proposed an Urban Data Trust model for data use that drew concerns. This concept has been removed from Sidewalk Labs’ proposal, and data collection in Quayside will be democratically accountable, according with existing and future regulations put forth by all three orders of government.

Finally, Waterfront Toronto has developed a set of Digital Principles that are fundamental to digital privacy and data protection, and help define how the public interest will be protected. These principles guide the interaction between the public and technology, and will serve as a foundation as we develop Intelligent Community Guidelines for the evaluation of the MIDP and the development of Quayside.

As we continue to explore this new frontier of digital innovation, we look forward to hearing more from the public, our experts, and our government partners.