The Ethics of Big Data in Big Agriculture

Internet Policy Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2016

13 Pages Posted: 30 May 2016

See all articles by Isabelle Carbonell

Isabelle Carbonell

University of California, Santa Cruz, Students

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

This paper examines the ethics of big data in agriculture, focusing on the power asymmetry between farmers and large agribusinesses like Monsanto. Following the recent purchase of Climate Corp., Monsanto is currently the most prominent biotech agribusiness to buy into big data. With wireless sensors on tractors monitoring or dictating every decision a farmer makes, Monsanto can now aggregate large quantities of previously proprietary farming data, enabling a privileged position with unique insights on a field-by-field basis into a third or more of the US farmland. This power asymmetry may be rebalanced through open-sourced data, and publicly-funded data analytic tools which rival Climate Corp. in complexity and innovation for use in the public domain.

Keywords: Agriculture, Big data, Ethics, Data-driven farming

Suggested Citation

Carbonell, Isabelle, The Ethics of Big Data in Big Agriculture (2016). Internet Policy Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2772247

Isabelle Carbonell (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz, Students ( email )

1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
United States

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