Turns out that the Rose City is having second thoughts about anonymous — yet somewhat still creepy — tracking stuff. Even if it was a project that spun out of Google. That’s right. Portland’s partnership with Replica and Sidewalk Labs has come to an end.
It’s not often when city governments dig deep into software products before they’re deployed. But after year-and-a-half of testing and customizing Replica — the mobility analytics product spawned by Google’s city tech sibling Sidewalk Labs — Portland, Oregon’s regional government agency Metro pulled the plug on the project. Records obtained via freedom of information requests as well as direct communications with Metro and Replica reveal project roadblocks at every turn, along with a series of he-said-she-said disputes over data quality and transparency, access, privacy and equity.
If the byline looks familiar, it’s because Kate Kaye has warned us about this sort of stuff before.