TORONTO — The leader of a company behind a proposal for a high-tech, Alphabet Inc-backed Toronto community brushed off privacy concerns associated with the project, saying it has addressed most issues by recently revealing its data plans.Dan Doctoroff, the chief executive officer of Sidewalk Labs, said at the Fortune Global Forum on Wednesday that he hoped concerns had been quelled after his organization released its privacy proposal for the Quayside development it is working on with Waterfront Toronto earlier this week.“I think for all but the most extreme advocates, it should answer the vast majority of questions,” he said.“It is a proposal. There are lots of details to work out. We acknowledge that, but that is part of what the discourse should be.”Facing privacy backlash, Sidewalk Labs proposes giving data to a public trustSidewalk Labs advisory panel member Saadia Muzaffar quits, citing ‘deep dismay’Sidewalk Labs shares more development details, but questions still lingerFor months Doctoroff’s company and the project have been dogged with questions around privacy, ownership of intellectual property and how data will be collected, kept, accessed and protected.Critics have complained about issues around project leadership, the lack of clarity around Sidewalk’s plans and few details being shared with the public. Some have quit — or are considering quitting — an advisory panel Waterfront Toronto set up to help guide the project.Sidewalk Labs has hosted a handful of meetings to hear and address public queries and concerns, but only unveiled its draft data and privacy proposal on Monday.The plans show Sidewalk Labs does not intend to own the data it gathers in public spaces and instead will relinquish control of it to an independent organization to be set up and called the Civic Data Trust. The Trust will set the rules around data use, make it open and accessible to people while offering privacy protection and ensure that Sidewalk Labs does not receive any special status or rights when it comes to data access.The plan mentions little of intellectual property, which has been a prime concern for many in Canada who have spoken out against foreign technology companies infiltrating the country and using Canadian talent to build intellectual property that ends up sending revenue to other nations.“We have made very clear quite consistently that where something is developed here, where we have uniquely been able to take advantage of this opportunity, we are very open to sharing the benefits of those intellectual property innovations,” Doctoroff said Wednesday.Sidewalk Labs and Doctoroff have faced criticism from former Research In Motion Inc. CEO Jim Balsillie and ex-Waterfront Toronto Digital Strategy Advisory Panel advisory member Saadia Muzaffar. Muzaffar’s October resignation followed that of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System executive John Ruffolo.Current members of the panel Andrew Clement and Teresa Scassa both confirmed to The Canadian Press they are considering leaving the panel. The Globe and Mail, which revealed they were considering exiting, reported that panellist Pamela Robinson was also mulling resigning.Scassa told The Canadian Press part of her “frustration” stems from little opportunity to provide meaningful input on a digital strategy, a feeling that the panel has been “late out of the gate” and a lack of time between Sidewalk Labs providing documentation and the panel meeting.Asked about the potential departures and about other public criticism, Doctoroff said, “It is mystifying sometimes to me that people will prejudge things when in fact we have said that we are in the process of studying things that will continue for this year. If that is what people feel like they need to do, then that’s fine.”“I think to some extent some of the criticisms were unfair because they prejudge something before the process is unfolding,” he continued. “I am also somebody who believes that even if you disagree with something you should try and make it better.”Doctoroff noted that Sidewalk Labs was starting an advisory council of its own to continue its discussions with the public.He met with the members over lunch and a copy of his 10-page speech Sidewalk Labs provided to The Canadian Press showed he was due to discuss everything from Sidewalk Labs’ vision for the project to privacy.“I must tell you that there are times when the prejudgment of what we will propose — and assumptions of ill intent — have taken me by surprise,” he was due to say. “But I can tell you there is nothing more behind the curtain than what I have shared with you today.”
The replacement of steel by aluzinc in the manufacture of Shaw Controls motor control centres (MCCs) has brought with it a range of benefits, Shaw’s Senior Manager Operations, Anderson Kohler, says.“Traditionally, we used only steel for our MCCs, which needs to be powder coated in order to protect it from corrosion,” Kohler said. “This made it necessary to follow quite a long process in completing our products – a process which aluzinc can now simplify and speed up.”The usual process of preparing MCC panels includes welding, grinding and prewashing before the powder coating painting process can take place. These phases can now be bypassed by using aluzinc; a material that resists corrosion without a protective coating being applied.Kohler highlighted the extended lifespan of aluzinc, which comprises 55% aluminium, 43.5% zinc and 1.5% silicon – manufacturers of the product guarantee it will last for about 35 years before any major maintenance is required.He said the powder coating of steel panels complicates the earthing requirement on an MCC, as the paint layer insulates the panel and prevents conductivity. “This means that technicians and installers must take special care to ensure that proper contact is made between the unit and the earth connection,” he said.For instance, the use of star washers must be strictly enforced among installation staff. Alternatively, certain areas of the MCCs are left unpainted to allow for earth connections. This does raise the concern that it only takes a small oversight and the earthing will not be fully effective, Kohler pointed out. The use of aluzinc eliminates this issue as there is no longer a paint layer between the earth connection and MCC panel, he said.Shaw Controls said: “There is also the possibility of painted parts being scratched or damaged during transport and installation. When this occurs, it leads to the time consuming task of being returned to the factory for proper powder-coating, further delaying the installation and commissioning process. Indeed, if there is a need to weld again for any reason, then there is a repeat process of grinding and pre-washing before painting again.”Kohler said the corrosion-resistant properties of aluzinc allowed parts to be kept in stock, ready for quick assembly; something not possible with mild steel due to corrosion.“By introducing the use of aluzinc in the manufacture of our MCCs, we can reduce the lead time on components by as much as two to three weeks, and this is a time-saving that we can pass on to our customers by delivering more quickly,” he said.There are also environmental benefits to using aluzinc as a replacement, said Kohler. No welding means a saving on gas and electricity, for instance, while no pre-washing obviates the need for harsh chemicals. In the painting process, there is invariably waste created through surplus paint that must be carefully disposed of in terms of environmental regulations.Shaw Controls, a Zest WEG company, has over 30 years’ experience as a manufacturer of MCCs, distribution boards, medium voltage switchgear, control desks, PLC and instrumentation enclosures, portable and containerised substations, E-Houses and various other electrical enclosures.