A Compromise of Values, Privacy, and Protection: Exploring Sidewalk Toronto’s Failure to Launch Through an Intersectional Lens of Energy Justice, Privacy, and Data
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Energy justice is a renewable energy transition theory that encourages participation of marginalized communities in energy decision-making processes. Energy justice recognizes that non-renewable energy systems unfaily place the burden of pollution and environmental degradation on the surrounding communities. The allocation of these energy system burdens is not accidental and often targets racial, low-income, Indigenous, and other types of marginalized communties. There is a need for data and personal information in order to identify instances of energy injustice. Generally, intellectual property law governs privacy and data. Sidewalk Toronto promised to be a new, inclusive, affordable, climate positive development. Yet, the many privacy and data concerns that this project raised over its short span led it to be unfeasible. The vague terms, ineffective public consultation, and the ever expanding scope of Sidewalk Toronto were key features that accounted for its failure. Additionally, the privacy legislation in Canada is out of date and no longer adequately protects consumers in Canada. Energy justice depends on strong privacy protection of the same marginalized communities already burdened by energy systems. This paper offers remedies that could be applied to similar future smart-city proposals.