The Mayor of Toronto has made news recently with the announcement that he will request a formal end to the controversial practice of carding by Toronto Police. An end to the modern day Sheriff of Nottingham tactic of ID fishing known as carding is a welcome development, but there’s a twist in the New World Order with the introduction of a potentially greater threat to freedom.
About a month ago Mayor Tory announced BIG DATA an ambitious plan to track all cellular mobile devices in real-time under the guise of ‘traffic management’.
the answer to alleviating Toronto’s often nightmarish traffic lies in making use of trillions of bytes of data to analyze traffic patterns on a massive scale never seen before locally.
“This will be a game changer and will establish Toronto as a leader in running a truly smart city,” said Tory this month of a plan to establish a specialized team of city traffic planners dedicated to the task of analyzing large amounts of vehicle – cars, public transit, bicycles – as well as pedestrian data in order to provide an accurate indicator of how the city moves around.
While planning is still in the early stages, the team’s official role will be to analyze the movements of tens of thousands of daily road users whose activities are captured via GPS probe data – tracked GPS signatures pulled directly from smartphones and other electronic devices – to determine how best to improve traffic conditions, influence public policy and evaluate the benefits or drawbacks of traffic regulations.
BIG DATA: Is it the solution to Toronto’s traffic gridlock? | Inside Toronto
The idea that the local government is planning to track everyone in real-time might draw the attention of Right-to-Privacy advocates in the future. It should be noted that all this information is already being collected by private companies for profit:
Big Data will rely on proprietary information provided by private sector navigation firms that will sell the data to the city for its intended use.
Currently, the city is preparing a short list of companies it will contract for the initiative.
As long as the city entrusts the private sector with coming up with the necessary data, don’t expect to see a lot of compiled information released publicly for free since there is a significant commercial incentive to charge for such information.
While carding is seen as a toxic fishing trip based on no evidence (see: legal advisor for the Toronto Police Services Board repeatedly states that there is no empirical evidence on police spot checks) the info collected in BIG DATA does not discriminate based on race or community, nor does it provide receipts to the public after interactions.
The Big Data plan gets hyped as a benevolent data mining operation that might even help ease gridlock traffic, Torontonians must remain vigilant as these new tools could eventually devolve into a global-to-local technetronic control grid.