Data Privacy in Agriculture and AgTech

The agriculture industry has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, thanks to the integration of technology and data-driven solutions. This technological evolution, often referred to as AgTech, has significantly improved productivity, sustainability, and efficiency in farming. However, with the benefits of these innovations come the challenges of data privacy and security. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of data privacy in agriculture and AgTech, along with the measures and considerations required to safeguard sensitive information.

The AgTech Revolution: Enhancing Agricultural Practices

AgTech’s Role in Agriculture

The adoption of AgTech solutions has revolutionized the way farmers manage their operations. From precision agriculture and drone technology to IoT devices and data analytics, AgTech enables farmers to make informed decisions, reduce resource wastage, and increase crop yields. However, these advancements heavily rely on the collection and utilization of vast amounts of data, raising concerns about data privacy.

Data Privacy Challenges in Agriculture

Data Accumulation

Farmers generate an enormous volume of data, encompassing information about soil quality, weather conditions, crop growth, and machinery performance. This data is collected through sensors, drones, and other digital tools. As this data is gathered, concerns about who has access to it and how it’s used become paramount.

Third-party Involvement

Many AgTech companies collaborate with third-party service providers to offer comprehensive solutions. This often involves sharing agricultural data with these third parties. Ensuring that sensitive information is protected during these collaborations is a growing concern.

Data Breaches and Cybersecurity Threats

The potential for data breaches and cybersecurity threats in AgTech cannot be ignored. Hackers may target valuable agricultural data, putting farmers at risk of financial loss and harm to their reputation. Such breaches can disrupt the entire food supply chain.

Safeguarding Data Privacy in Agriculture and AgTech

Consent and Transparency

Farmers should be fully informed about the data collected and how it will be used. They should have the ability to give or deny consent for data collection. Transparency in data practices is essential to building trust.

Data Encryption and Secure Storage

Utilizing robust encryption techniques and secure storage methods for sensitive agricultural data is a foundational step in protecting data privacy. These measures can prevent unauthorized access to data.

Anonymization and Aggregation

AgTech companies can adopt anonymization and data aggregation techniques to reduce the risk of data breaches. By stripping data of identifying information and presenting it in aggregate form, individual farm data remains confidential.

Data Ownership and Access Control

Determining data ownership and establishing access controls is crucial. Farmers should retain ownership of their data and have the authority to decide who can access it. AgTech providers must implement strict access control measures to protect this ownership.

Regulatory Compliance

Adherence to data privacy regulations is paramount. AgTech companies should be well-versed in the relevant regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and ensure compliance. They should also be well versed about India’s landmark legislation, the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDP Act). The DPDP Act envisages penalties of up to Rs. 250 crore.


Data privacy in agriculture and AgTech is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and proactive measures. As the AgTech industry continues to evolve, safeguarding sensitive data is not only an ethical responsibility but also a critical component of maintaining trust among farmers and the broader agriculture community. By prioritizing transparency, encryption, anonymization, and regulatory compliance, the agriculture industry can ensure that the AgTech revolution is not only bountiful but also secure for all stakeholders involved. Balancing innovation with privacy protection will help agriculture thrive in the digital age.

Major Privacy Updates of the Week

EU Formally Adopts Data Act

A new European regulation is coming to life this week. The Data Act was formally and overwhelmingly adopted Thursday during a plenary vote by the European Parliament. Trilogue negotiations concluded in June and this vote marks the final step of the legislative process. Once the text is published in the Official Journal, the clock will start ticking on a 20-month transition period. Proposed in February 2022 by the European Commission, the regulation is part of the EU Data Strategy package and is the latest to be adopted. At its core, the Data Act aims to support the emergence of a single market for data, alongside the Data Governance Act which, already in force, focuses on facilitating the voluntary sharing of data by individuals and businesses and harmonizing conditions for the use of certain public sector data. According to European statistics, 80% of industrial data is never used. The Data Act is expected to make more data available for reuse and to create 270 billion euros of additional GDP by 2028.According to proposal, the Data Act “ensures that users of a product or related service in the Union can access, in a timely manner, the data generated by the use of that product or related service and that those users can use the data, including by sharing them with third parties of their choice.” In short, it creates new requirements to clarify who can use and access data of connected products and related services to create value.

NZ OPC releases 2023 annual report

The 2023 annual report published by New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster highlights significant developments and challenges in the realm of privacy. The report indicates that the Privacy Commissioner’s office has been actively engaged in policy development, compliance, and resolution efforts, particularly in response to the complexities introduced by advancing technology. A notable aspect of the report is the substantial increase in complaints received by the office, which nearly doubled to almost twice the 486 complaints registered in 2022. In response to this surge in privacy concerns, Commissioner Webster has announced plans for the upcoming year to expand the office’s services. This expansion aims to provide better support to New Zealanders, with a special focus on those who are most vulnerable to privacy-related harm.

TikTok agreed with the Vietnamese government to new children's privacy restrictions

At a recent press conference, Mr. Le Quang Tu Do, Director of the Department of Radio, Television and Electronic Information under Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications, discussed a meeting with representatives from TikTok Singapore, who manage TikTok services in Vietnam. Following this meeting, TikTok Singapore committed in writing to adhere to the Vietnamese authorities’ requests, particularly focusing on child protection measures on the TikTok platform.

As part of this commitment, TikTok plans to introduce a one-hour daily usage limit for users under 18 and will ban accounts of children under 13. TikTok Singapore is currently working on the specifics of implementing these measures and will communicate these details to the Vietnamese authorities soon.

Mr. Le Quang Tu Do also noted that the Ministry’s internet monitoring software has observed positive changes on TikTok, with a significant decrease in harmful content. TikTok has been actively cooperating with the authorities to tackle malicious accounts. In October, TikTok blocked and removed 53 violating contents, including 44 accounts that had content undermining the Party and State or defaming and insulting leaders.

EU to create digital identification wallet

The European Parliament has reached a tentative agreement with the Council of the European Union on establishing an EU Digital Identity Wallet. This wallet will offer online identity verification services. It includes a “privacy dashboard” feature, allowing citizens to manage and delete their data stored in the wallet.

Thailand's PDPC drafts data transfer regulations

Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Committee released draft regulations on cross-border data transfers in accordance with Sections 28 and 29 of the Personal Data Protection Act. The draft provides for data being transferred to countries with adequate data protection standards, which the PDPC may decide on a case-by-case basis. The draft regulations are open for public comment through 10 Nov.

Curated by: Prajwala D Dinesh, Ritwik Tiwari, Ayush Sahay


Keep up to pace with this high-impact weekly privacy newsletter that
features significant data privacy updates, trends, and tools that can
help to make your life secure & easier every day!

*By clicking on subscribe, I agree to receive communications from Tsaaro