University of Technology Sydney: Ensuring data privacy in agriculture

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has joined a new $1.5 million partnership with engineering giant, Bosch, and the Food Agility CRC that will strengthen data privacy and security across Australia’s agriculture industry.

As major agricultural producers collect increasing volumes of data, they face pressure in appropriately controlling and sharing these datasets with service providers and other industry bodies. This collaborative project seeks to overcome the broad global challenges of data privacy and security in three key areas of the data value chain:

Sensing – Establishing a framework for the inception of data that protects personally-identifiable information and complies with global anti-trust laws.
Data Privacy in Machine Learning – Identifying federated learning systems that enable agtech data users to generate high-quality machine learning models using widespread sources of data in a decentralized manner.
Exchange in data marketplaces – Exploring mechanisms to create trusted digital cleanrooms for data marketplaces.
UTS Associate Professor Justin Lipman will lead the project.

“The collection and sharing of valuable and sensitive agricultural data has the vast potential to improve Australia’s agricultural productivity, efficiency, yield and economic growth. However, unlocking this potential requires appropriate levels of privacy and security across the entirety of the data life cycle, which is what this project will deliver.”

“We are observing a critical need in our sector for greater accessibility and confidence in agricultural data management,” said Food Agility’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Norton.

This project is about trust. Without it, the benefits of smart agriculture will never be fully realised.

Gavin Smith
President, Bosch Oceania

“This project creates a win-win for producers and technologists in ensuring we can extract as much value from data as possible, whilst treating it with the respect for privacy and security it deserves.”

Gavin Smith, President of Bosch Oceania, said, “This project is about trust. Without it, the benefits of smart agriculture will never be fully realised.”

The research activities for the project will generate new insights and technologies that are to be published broadly and adopted into the Bosch global portfolio of data solutions, including the open-source Carbyne Stack.‍