Call it “iTunes syndrome,” or perhaps “user agreement fatigue.” It’s that acute boost to your fine motor skills as you scroll quickly through pages and pages of any given user agreement just to get to the bottom to click “I agree.” Did you really read the contract, though? (Probably not.) And does it even matter? (More than you may realize.)
“We get conditioned to ignore user agreements,” says Joe Michaels, Case IH senior director of specialty business. While there probably aren’t any dire consequences from skimming over that iTunes user agreement, Michaels said precision data agreements are another matter.
“This is serious business, and it’s serious that farmers should look at them and go through them carefully,” he says.
What’s worrisome, however, is that many farmers are not up to speed on key issues surrounding the collection and control of big data in their operations. For example, in a January 2015 survey, Case IH asked farmers: “Does your ag data system provider agreement limit their ability to sell or share your data?” While 45% said yes and 20% said know, more than a third (35%) said they didn’t know.
Another question – “Can you share your data between brands?” was met with a similarly divided response. While 39% answered yes and 25% answered no, another 36% responded they didn’t know.
Michaels says farmers should ask their precision technology providers the following six questions before signing any agreement to preserve their data assets – as well as their peace of mind.
1.Can I exchange data with other systems, and can I change brands and keep my data?
2.How long can data remain on your sever?
3.What happens to my data when I sell my equipment? On a related note, don’t give a neighbor an inadvertent competitive advantage by returning equipment to the dealer with a fully loaded data card, Michaels warns.
4.Will you sell my data?
5.Who can see my data on my farm?
6.How will you use my data?
Michaels says big data issues in agriculture are nearing a tipping point.
“A growing number of producers recognize this data is going to be a large part of their future,” he says.
Case IH is a founding member of the Open Ag Data Alliance (OADA), an organization designed to bring security and privacy to agricultural data. For more information on OADA, visit http://openag.io/.