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Disclosure, Use and Sale Limitations -- The Big Data Confusion: Part 9

Have you ever wondered why your recent web searches for items or information show up on other websites you visit?  Frequently, these recent searches appear in the form of advertisements along an edge of another webpage you are viewing.  These advertisements are typically provided by third party data aggregators.  These third party data aggregators play a crucial role in target advertising if a “data” company does not already have in-house capabilities to capture this type of data.  Third party data aggregation is specifically addressed in The Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data published by AFBF with their policy about Disclosure, Use and Sale Limitation:

An ATP will not sell and/or disclose non-aggregated farm data to a third party without first securing a legally binding commitment to be bound by the same terms and conditions as the ATP has with the farmer. Farmers must be notified if such a sale is going to take place and have the option to opt out or have their data removed prior to that sale. An ATP will not share or disclose original farm data with a third party in any manner that is inconsistent with the contract with the farmer. If the agreement with the third party is not the same as the agreement with the ATP, farmers must be presented with the third party’s terms for agreement or rejection.”

The key points of this principle regarding data disclosure, use and sale limitations include making sure growers understand the terms outlined in their contract as well as how any data is being shared or possibly sold to a third party.   This principle draws on the need to be transparent around who has access to farm data and if data will be supplied to a third party or business affiliate.  Further, it is important to have legal contracts relating to not only the ATP data relationship but contracts with other entities that provide data services (or access) as well.  This need of full disclosure and the ability to understand contracts has been reported by recent Big Data surveys of farmers as being a matter of primary concern. 

Similar to last week’s installment focusing on Terms and Definitions within contracts, an ATP will not sell or distribute any non-aggregated farm data to third party without consent from the grower.  Additionally, if a sale of data is to be conducted on behalf of the grower by the ATP, the grower must be notified.  If the grower agrees, the contract with the third party aggregator must either be the same, or a new contract should be provided for the grower to review.

While some growers are comfortable with their farm data being aggregated and used as a marketing tool, others are not. Big data companies will have the ability to provide targeted marketing with information based on data collected similar to those seen online when searching for goods.   Growers should be given the protection and choice about how their data is being used and sold to third party data aggregators.  By specifically reviewing the disclosure, use and sale limitations within an ATP contract, growers have the ability to make an informed decision about how their data will be used, on their own terms.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.