Quayside, a developing “smart city” on the southern edge of Toronto’s downtown, has been forced into an ethical debate as to how privatisation could pose a threat to individual privacy rights. Sidewalk Labs, an infrastructure division owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, lost one of the project’s lead policy experts and privacy consultants after she was informed that third parties would be able to access the personal data of Quayside residents without a deletion or anonymisation process.

“I imagined us creating a Smart City of Privacy, as opposed to a Smart City of Surveillance,” Cavoukian wrote in her resignation letter. “That’s just not on. Your personal information, your privacy is critical. It is not just a fundamental human right. It forms the foundation of our freedom.”