FAQs – Data collection and storage

Farmers using digital agriculture tools.

This page contains questions and answers about how we collect data and store it from the On-Farm IoT Trial. See also FAQs – On-Farm IoT Trial.

Data collection and storage

What will happen to my data during the On-Farm IoT Trial?

Under the On-Farm IoT Trial, you will be required to share data, from applications (apps) and devices you have acquired using a grant, with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (the department).

Data from apps and devices will be transferred and stored to a secure environment, known as the On-Farm IoTTrial Data Lake.

Transfer of data to the Data Lake will occur once apps and devices are connected to the internet. Data will move to the Data Lake via IoT data protocols and policies agreed between the department and the suppliers of apps and devices.

Data stored in the Data Lake will be secured as per Victorian Government data security policies. Access to the Data Lake will require permission from the department.

Once data is stored in the Data Lake, it can be aggregated and anonymised as required. The intention is to make access to aggregated and anonymised data available to participating farmers as well as to appropriate third parties, such as researchers or industry groups, to support research and innovation. If third party access is granted it will be within the secure Data Lake environment.

The department will also analyse the nature, volume and velocity of data entering the Data Lake, and use this information to build data “use cases” that will be shared with participating farmers.

The data use cases are case studies that will be developed to support the trial outcome of improving farmer confidence in how IoT data is collected, stored, shared and used. They are hypothetical cases that will be used to illustrate the potential of the Data Lake as a shared data resource and opportunities associated with public and private data sharing models.

How data stored in the Data Lake is made available, under what conditions, and how it will be managed and stored beyond the life of the On-farm IoT Trial will be determined by the department, and the department will consult with participating farmers.

How will trial data be stored?

During the life of the On-Farm IoT Trial, data shared with the department will be stored within the On-Farm IoT Trial Data Lake.

What is the Data Lake?

The On-Farm IoT Trial Data Lake is a secure online data repository that combines data storage, data governance and analytics in a single platform. It will be used to store and manage data generated from apps and devices over the course of the On-Farm IoT Trial.

The Data Lake is a secure environment that can only be accessed via an authenticated token system. An authenticated token system allows for a unique identifier (usually a number) to be sent your mobile phone so you can access a specific file or database. Anyone who wishes to access the Data Lake will need to apply for permission through the department.

Where open data sources or research data, such as climate data or soil data from the department’s SmartFarms might enhance trial data, these data sets may also be included in the On-Farm IoT Trial Data Lake. The purpose of having these data sources in the Data Lake is to demonstrate the department’s commitment to ensuring any publicly funded, non-proprietary research data is made available.

If all the data gets loaded at the same time, will the network handle the load?

The data will not get loaded at the same time.

Data sharing

Why is data being shared under the On-Farm IoT Trial?

The On-Farm IoT Trial is an opportunity for the department to work with participating farmers to explore the benefits, knowledge and innovation opportunities of sharing data with the aim to maximise the value of IoT beyond the individual farm level.

The principle of creating a shared data resource through the trial is to create an open resource for innovation and to help progress some of the many opportunities associated with data sharing for the broader sector, not to constrain or lock data away. In doing so, the department will ensure that data is protected.

This will ensure that the On-Farm IoT Trial not only benefits participating farmers, but also has broader value to Victoria’s agriculture and agtech sectors through the creation of a secure shared data resource.

How will I benefit from sharing data as part of the trial?

Exploring how trial participants can benefit from data sharing, and how data sharing can maximise the value of IoT is one of the trial objectives.

Expected benefits of sharing trial data include opportunities for:

  • agronomic modelling and predictive methodologies to support the development of new decision support tools
  • innovation and economic growth by collecting, managing and developing data algorithms and models to support the creation of new products and services, for example, farm automation technologies or robotics
  • improved understanding of how IoT data can be managed to reduce associated costs.

What if I don’t want to share data?

You will not be eligible to apply for grant funding to participate in the On-Farm IoT Trial.

Can I stop sharing data once I have agreed to share?

No. You will be required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the department to receive a grant and to enrol in the On-farm IoT Trial as a Participating Farmer. The Grant Agreement sets out all conditions of funding, including data sharing.

Can I withdraw data once I have agreed to share?

No. You will be required to enter into a Grant Agreement with the department to receive a grant and to enrol in the On-Farm IoT Trial as a Participating Farmer. The Grant Agreement sets out all conditions of funding, including data sharing.

Will trial data be sold by the department?

No.

Can the department use data from my farm for regulatory or compliance activities?

No, this is not an objective of the trial.

Who else can access trial data?

Individual suppliers of apps and devices have access to data generated by their products. How each individual supplier may access and use data generated by their apps and devices will be set out in the supplier’s own terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are not determined by the department.

In the same way that you are required to agree to a set of terms and conditions to, for example, install and use an app on your mobile phone, when you purchase or lease IoT apps and devices under the trial you will be required to agree to the supplier’s terms and conditions. It is up to you to ensure that you read and understand the terms and conditions under which the supplier may access and use data generated by their products.

Individual suppliers will be able to explain their data-use terms and conditions to you if you are unsure.

Data access and third parties

What third parties will be given access to trial data?

The purpose of creating a shared data resource is for third parties to approach the department with value propositions for how data may be used to spur research and innovation opportunities.

The intent of the department is to make aggregated and anonymised data available to third parties for uses that will benefit participating farmers as well as the broader Victorian agriculture sector.

Any third party will be required to enter into a data sharing agreement with the department that will be developed with input from participating farmers. We know this is important and participating farmers need to be comfortable with how data can be shared for their advantage, in line with the objectives of the trial.

If third party access is granted, it will be within the Data Lake environment, which as explained above, is a secure and robust platform.

How will third parties use the data?

The purpose of creating a shared data resource is for third parties to approach the department with their proposals for how the Data Lake can be used to spur research and innovation opportunities.

How data stored in the Data Lake is made available and under what conditions will be determined by the department. The department will consult with participating farmers in relation to this. The intent of the department is to make aggregated and anonymised data available to third parties for uses that will benefit participating farmers as well as the broader Victorian agriculture sector.

This process may change. As the trial progresses, we will continue to develop our understanding of the potential value of data aggregation, access and use for participating farmers as well as industry groups and the broader agriculture sector. This will be communicated to trial participants including through the development of the data use cases.

Who benefits when the data is shared with a third party?

It will depend on who is interested in accessing the data and for what purpose. One of the objectives of the trial is to explore the benefits of sharing data in ways that will maximise the value of a shared data resource.

The intent of the department is to make aggregated and anonymised data available to third parties for uses that will benefit participating farmers as well as the broader Victorian agriculture sector.

Can third parties use the data for commercial gain?

Data will be made available to third parties for research or innovation with the potential to benefit Victoria’s agriculture sectors.

In some instances, this may include through the development of commercial applications for use within these sectors.

Will I be told when the data is used by the government or third parties and what it is being used for?

Yes. The department will engage with trial participants to explore data use cases (case studies) and communicate opportunities for data sharing.

How the Data Lake is being used as a shared data resource will also be reported as part of the trial outcomes.

After the trial

How will data be used after the trial?

As the trial progresses, there will be opportunities to explore how ongoing use of the data might benefit participating farmers, industry groups, researchers and other agriculture sector participants, and to develop a framework for how the data resource might be maintained, accessed and used beyond the life of the trial.

Data held by the department at the end of the trial will be made available as per the Victorian Government’s DataVic Access Policy. Participating farmers will be able to access data from apps and devices used in the trial through the Victorian Government’s DataVic open data portal.

It is anticipated that opportunities associated with data use after the trial will be decisions made by participating farmers and industry, and not part of any ongoing government program or intervention.

Do I have to continue to send my data to Agriculture Victoria after the trial?

No. Agriculture Victoria will not collect data from apps and devices beyond the period of the trial.

Can I access trial data once the trial is finished?

Yes. On-Farm IoT Trial data will be accessible via the DataVic portal once the trial has ended and will provide participating farmers with access to data from the apps and devices used in the trial.

Data security

How is the data aggregated?

The Data Lake application supports data aggregation through specialised software. How data is aggregated will depend on the question, problem or analysis the Data Lake is being accessed to address.

Does aggregation of data protect me?

Data Lake analytics can be used to aggregate data depending on the question, problem or analysis the Data Lake is being accessed to address. As part of this process, the department can apply security settings to aggregated data to ensure it is anonymised so that aggregated data cannot be used to identify individual trial participants.

The department will work with participating farmers to demonstrate the data security and governance framework in place within the Data Lake, and how collected trial data is managed and anonymised.

How will the department anonymise data stored in the Data Lake?

At the point that the data enters the Data Lake, security and authentication settings will be applied to manage the attributes of the data and how it moves through the Data Lake infrastructure. These are coded policy settings that are written into the Data Lake to ensure data stored is anonymised as required and to control who can access the data.

There may be some instances where participating farmers would like to grant permission for data from their farm to be used in ways that do not require aggregation or anonymisation of the collected data. These decisions will only be made in collaboration and with the consent of the participating farmer.

While the department does not intend to store any personal information collected, held, managed, used, disclosed or transferred, if any such action was endorsed by a participating farmer with the department, any personal information will be held in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (VIC) and other applicable laws.

How will the trial data be protected?

The department will put into place all relevant security protocols for storing data in the On-farm IoT Trial Data Lake. This will be overseen by the Victorian Centre for Data Insights (VCDI) and follows strict data security, privacy and integrity rules.

The Victorian Data Sharing Act 2017 and the Victorian Protective Data Security Framework (VPDSF) March 2018 are critical enablers of this process and will be made available to trial participants to support any questions or suggested risks associated with the protection of trial data.

How will my privacy be protected (including which laws apply)?

Any personal information collected, held, managed, used, disclosed or transferred will be held in accordance with the provisions of the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (VIC) and other applicable laws.

Data in the Data Lake is secure and protected through relevant legislation and data policy frameworks endorsed by the Victorian Centre for Data Insights.

What happens if there is a cyber security breach?

The department’s Security group supported by the Chief Information Security Officer will invoke the department’s Incident Management Plan which will seek to identify and isolate the source of the breach.

You will be notified by the department’s Security group if a breach occurs. Please note that an attack on the department’s software will not impact your IoT device or app or any data associated with it for your farm operation.

What happens if these conditions change in the future?

Any change to the On-Farm IoT Trial terms and conditions will be communicated to trial participants.

Page last updated: 03 Aug 2020