The Sidewalk Labs project has been met with fierce opposition ever since the project was announced. File photo.

Published: August 30th, 2019

Sidewalk Labs LLC, an Alphabet subsidiary, has partnered with Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan to develop smart infrastructure solutions.

Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP) is a detachment from Sidewalk Labs and focuses on five key verticals including advanced mobility, energy, water and waste, digital infrastructure, and social infrastructure.

Innovations from their collaboration would also help construct the Sidewalk Labs smart city at on a government-owned stretch of land at Queens Quay. Spanning just 12 acres, the Queens Quay is Sidewalk Lab’s testing ground and the first phase of a much grander project.

Sidewalk Labs is a smart city project looking to deeply integrate technology into underlying city infrastructures. It plans to use smart sensors and AI to detect patterns in traffic and energy use, reduce housing costs, and increase sustainability.

Given the data-centric nature of its systems, Sidewalk Labs has faced heavy criticisms over its lackluster privacy and security practices, as well as the ambition of its scope.

Upon releasing its 1,500 page master blueprint in June, the Alphabet-owned subsidiary was criticized for not having concrete plans to enforce personal data privacy and security.

Ann Cavoukian, a former advisor for Sidewalk Labs, resigned over the project’s muddy de-identification process, which helps to unlink collected data from an identifiable individual.

Waterfront Toronto, the organization governing the Sidewalk Lab’s land use, also received flak from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) for overstepping its boundaries and allowing a private organization to breach an unregulated territory.

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