OADA Data Privacy and Use
The central guiding principle of the Open Ag Data Alliance is that each farmer owns data generated or entered by the farmer, their employees, or by machines performing activities on their farm. As one of the rights of ownership, the farmer controls what happens to his or her data. Since OADA is primarily a platform for farmers to share data among applications, services, and people, it is important to provide a means for farmers to evaluate the data privacy and use policies of the various agents with which they choose to engage. The purpose of this OADA Data Privacy and Use document is therefore to provide clear, consistent, trustworthy criteria by which each farmer can assess the situations in which they share the data they own.
To that end, the OADA vision for data privacy and use revolves around a set of privacy and use components (PUCs) by which farmers can compare products and services that interact within the OADA ecosystem. People, businesses, and service organizations can self-certify which components are accurately reflected by their contracts and situations, or they can ask independent third parties to provide such a certification for added trust.
The OADA PUCs are intended to be specific to the interests of farmers rather than entirely generic. With that said, farmers have no more onerous requirements for the privacy of their data than most other groups of people. Most people expect:
- that when they use cloud storage for files from their computer, the storage provider will not send their files to other people without their permission;
- that when they purchase a piece of equipment through which data travels, such as a home wireless router, that the company who manufactured the router will not monitor their data traffic and send it to other people;
- Businesses to act in good faith and provide reasonable security measures to protect the data they have shared from unauthorized access.
OADA does not intend to prevent any farmers from engaging in any data sharing activity they choose. Rather, the primary goal is for farmers to know how the entities with which they engage will handle their data. If a farmer knowingly chooses to freely give yield maps to a company who will publish those maps on their website, then the farmer should be free to do so. OADA’s objective is to help ensure that the farmer is simply aware of the company’s intent in regards to the use of the farmer’s data. Conversely, farmers who have stringent privacy concerns should have a simple means of providing apples-to-apples comparisons among the data privacy and use policies of companies and services in order to choose products and services which most closely align with their needs. Therefore, the OADA PUCs are not designed to be 100% true for every data privacy and use policy. They are designed such that different, legitimate policies will have different combinations of true/false assertions for each principle. In general, more “true” assertions should mean more privacy, and more “false” assertions should mean less privacy.
OADA welcomes feedback, ideas, and civil critiques from all members of the agricultural community, especially active farmers. The more farmers who participate in the discussion, the more accurately OADA can reflect the views of the farming community. OADA recognizes that some opinions on privacy vary from person to person, from place to place, and from time to time. This document is intended to change with time as attitudes and participation change, and will have version numbers to distinguish major revisions as decided by the OADA community. Please visit the OADA website (http://openag.io) and sign up for the mailing list if you would like to comment or contribute.