The recent resignation of privacy expert Ann Cavoukian from Sidewalk Toronto smart-city project and the step down of 4 others on the project triggers many concerns for the individual privacy of Torontonian’s and especially the potential exposure of the personal data of Waterfront Toronto residents. As I have been reading the different articles on the concerns for Sidewalk Toronto smart-city I too experienced what I consider a possible cyber security issue for Ward 19 constituents involving the potential exposure of sensitive personal data and the possibility of Toronto Park plans and surveys being potentially skewed.
In Ward 19 Taylor Massey Park Master Plan Study was initiated with little to no input from the direct community other than scant “Pop Up” consults with little public notice from our City Councillor. I have attended meetings over the past 10 years (on the creek and park plans) and have studied and voiced my concerns about needing a full up-to-date Geomorphic study of the creek (the entire creek itself combining all wards that the creek runs through). I have been critical of the process throughout. https://www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/955a-Taylor-Massey-staff-report.pdf
In this recent Study (July 2018), “Pop Up” surveys were conducted by Forestry – City of Toronto in the summer, while Beaches – East York taxpayers were away vacationing and just after a major flood had happened. I attended the “Pop Up” Meeting by the City of Toronto Parks and Forestry.
When I directly asked about the lack of public consultation and how the “Pop Up” was set up in the ravine where access was not accessible to those with disabilities, the City of Toronto Forestry staff member explained that the City of Toronto only wanted the park users feedback. Unfortunately the “Pop Up” was located in the ravine out of site of 100 or more softball and baseball players playing in Stan Wadlow Park above, and many who were using the dog park above. I asked if they are not park users, too!
The online survey provided by the City of Toronto Forestry department to gather information about our Park usage was linked to an Australian third party server website that clearly was not operating on Canadian servers.
(http://www.bit.ly/TaylorCreek-InteractiveMap at http://www.mysocialpinpoint.com/contact). The survey is closed now to citizens. When it was addressed to taylormasseyMP@toronto.ca, a reply was received from firstname.lastname@example.org answering that if Constituents had concerns using one’s own email address because it was gathering data out of country – they could use “a fake email address”. The survey was collecting sensitive data regarding Toronto Citizen’s usage of the park. One would think that it was not in the best interest of Taxpayers to submit to such an inappropriate survey. When I asked that same question of Parks and Forestry about whether Taxpayers were comfortable giving private information to this foreign survey website they did not have a reply.
It is unacceptable that fake email addresses can affect a City of Toronto survey regarding a sensitive Watershed of Taylor Massey Creek leading to the Don River. Just how many fake email addresses were being used to skew survey results from the data? As anyone can see, there are some serious questions about the transparency afforded taxpayers with respect to the plans of our Parks. This also puts into question all the many surveys being conducted on our Parks by the City of Toronto and their validity and accuracy given the practice of using foreign survey companies and fake email addresses. I have forwarded my concerns and experiences to Catherine McKenna our Federal MP of Parks, and to Ralph Goodale our MP in charge of Cyber Security.